White House official: Trump plans to pull US from Paris deal

While a final decision has not been announced, reports Wednesday morning that President Donald Trump is leaning towards pulling the USA out of the Paris Climate Accord has critics howling that such a move would be bad politics and policy. Initially, not much. The effects will not be apparent in the immediate future, as experts say it will take the USA four years before officially being able to withdraw and renewable energy use is on the upswing anyway. And it could trigger further efforts to erode the landmark climate accord.

During the 2016 campaign, for example, Trump said he would "rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions", including the Paris agreement.

Trump called the probe a "witch-hunt" in tweets on Wednesday morning - a phrase he has used before.

Both the European Union and China will reaffirm their commitment to the Paris climate change accord this week regardless of Trump's decision, Associated Press and AFP news agencies reported, citing senior European Union officials. Trump has changed his mind on large decisions before, even after previously signaling a move in the opposite direction. He said that now 147 parties representing more than 82 percent of greenhouse gas emissions have ratified the Paris agreement. Nicaragua and Syria are the only other countries that do not support the Paris Agreement-and both do so for entirely different reasons.

"Eighty per cent of the world's energy still comes from fossil fuels - oil, gas and coal", Guterres said.

Trump faced considerable pressure to hold to the deal during visits with European leaders and Pope Francis on his recent trip overseas.

The effects of climate change are alarming, well underway, and require the full implementation of the Paris Agreement with or without the United States as a willing partner, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told students, business leaders and academics Tuesday in New York City.

Independent reports cleared the scientists of any wrongdoing, but Trump and other conservative leaders seized on the conspiracy to demean climate science in general. Some have cautioned that Tillerson could sway Trump in their meeting, or that the slower, four-year exit process for Paris would enable a renegotiation on Trump's terms.

The comments came as German leader Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe could no longer "count on others".

Musk now sits on Trump's economic and manufacturing advisory councils, and defended his choice to remain on the council when challenged for his participation following Trump's immigration bans, which were broadly opposed by Silicon Valley and technology companies, including Tesla. After he returned to Washington, Trump lashed out at Merkel over other matters, including North Atlantic Treaty Organisation funding and Germany's trade deficit. He calls the expected withdrawal "a big setback". The market reaction reflects concerns, raised by some coal companies in recent months, that a USA exit from the Paris agreement could unleash a global backlash against coal interests.

On Tuesday, Modi said in Berlin that it would be a "crime" to spoil the environment for future generations as the world awaits a decision on USA climate policy. "It would also devastate our worldwide credibility".

The US is now one of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the world. We are the ones who put this deal together.

Trump, in 2010, reportedly told an audience at one of his golf courses that "China and other countries couldn't care less" about climate change. "For President Trump to take us out, it is anti-science".

Trump aides including Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, lawyer Don McGahn and Peter Navarro, along with EPA chief Pruitt, argued hard for leaving the accord.

In October, President Obama hailed the accord, which was signed by 197 parties to fight global warming, as "the best possible shot to save the one planet we've got". She worked to ensure her father heard pro-Paris viewpoints, including from former Vice President Al Gore.

Canada, the European Union, and China have said they will honour their commitments to the pact even if the United States withdraws.

Since the President entered the White House, his opposition to the deal had softened a bit. Musk tweeted the ultimatum on Wednesday, in response to a question from a follower on the social network.

"We are also doing our best with the administration and Congress to make the USA understand that funding development aid, funding policy, general funding of organizations like the United Nations are also in the interest of the American people".

It's not just environmentalists who wanted Trump to sign the agreement.

Axios reports that the decision to withdraw from the accord followed an appeal by 22 Republican senators, including Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, calling for a "clean exit" from the agreement. And leaders from coal-producing states have pressed Trump to uphold his vows to cancel USA commitments to Paris.

While countries like China may get a diplomatic boost from America's retreat and green policies won't go into reverse, a US departure isn't going to make it any easier to meet the most important goal of the Paris deal - reining in global warming.

"It's absolutely essential that the world implements the Paris Agreement and that we fulfil that duty with increased ambition", he said. "It creates the mechanism, the architecture, for us to continually tackle this problem in an effective way". The United States committed to reducing its own by 26 to 28 percent, compared with 2005 levels, by 2025.