Apparently, President Trump has made his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, according to reports from journalists with direct knowledge of the decision. Details on how the withdrawal will be executed are being worked out by a small team including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. It looks like this gang is deciding on whether to initiate a full, formal withdrawal — which could take 3 years — or exit the underlying United Nations climate change treaty, which would be faster but more extreme.
Pulling out of Paris is the biggest thing Trump could do to unravel Obama’s climate legacy. It sends a combative signal to the rest of the world that America doesn’t prioritize climate change. This tactic threatens to unravel the ambition of the entire deal and if the entire deal unravels, throws the world into unpredictable national decisions with respect to the global environment. It is nothing more than a decision that shirks any semblance of leadership.
How did we get here? A letter from 22 Republican Senators (including Mitch McConnell) that called for a clean exit had reinforced Trump’s instincts to withdraw, and the president has indicated to his advisors over the past week that he was going to pull out.