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Trump Advisers Clash On Paris Agreement Withdrawal

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Prominent White House advisers disagree on how President Donald Trump's administration should approach the issue of climate change.

According to the Daily Mail, White House senior adviser Steve Bannon is urging Trump to adhere to his campaign promise to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. The accord was put in place in 2015 in an effort to curb global warming.

Bannon's insistence to "cancel" the agreement has pitted him against Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Trump's daughter, Ivanka, both of whom believe a withdrawal from the agreement would cause a strain on diplomatic relations.

Trump made clear during his campaign that he wanted out of the agreement, which was signed by former President Barack Obama. He vowed to make changes to Obama's environmental protections and has proposed deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency according to leaked budgetary documents obtained by The New York Times.

His appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA is also a step toward deregulation. Pruitt is a skeptic of the science behind climate change.

Trump cannot single-handedly "cancel" the Paris Agreement, but he could initiate the withdrawal of the U.S. from the 194-nation accord. The process for withdrawal takes four years.

Bannon has urged Trump to withdraw from the agreement against vehemence from Tillerson, Ivanka Trump, and other diplomats who believe that such withdrawal from the agreement would undermine U.S. credibility abroad.

The Paris Agreement stipulates that countries must submit a carbon emissions target profile and their plan to meet said emissions target, according to The New York Times. There are currently no sanctions for exceeding carbon pollution emissions targets.

"There's really no obligation," Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee said in an interview with The New York Times. "It doesn't require us to do anything. I think they may take a little time to assess whether pulling out makes sense now."

Many politicians disagree with removal from the agreement.

"In international politics, trust, reliability and keeping your commitments -- that's a big part of how other countries view our country," said R. Nicholas Burns, a retired diplomat and Secretary of State under President George W. Bush.

"I can't think of an issue, except perhaps NATO, where if the U.S. simply walks away, it would have such a major negative impact on how we are seen," he said.

The New York Times reports that if Trump does pull out of the deal, it would throw the fate of global climate policy into question and also possibly threaten the credibility of the United States. On the other hand, it would prove Trump a man of his word, which is something that is all-important to any president. 

Sources: The New York Times, Daily Mail / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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