Published: Thu, February 02, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Trump May Pull U.S. Out Of Paris Climate Agreement

Trump May Pull U.S. Out Of Paris Climate Agreement

Though it didn’t earn much airtime at presidential debates or in campaign stump speeches, climate change represented one of the sharpest contrasts between now-President Donald Trump and his former opposition, Hillary Clinton. In some ways, the two candidates represented the extremes of their respective parties on the issue of environmental initiatives. Clinton was more progressive on climate change than on some other issues while Trump has called climate change a hoax (created by the Chinese).

But we never really know how official stances and throwaway statements will impact policy once a candidate becomes a government official. For her part, Secretary Clinton appeared to be prepared to further the progress made by President Obama to combat climate change. Her green energy policy largely focused on keeping the U.S. on track to meet goals like an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050, or pollution reduction as outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement. In other words, she was poised to adhere to policies that had already been put in place, mostly through that same international agreement that was organized in large part by Obama.

Because of these stances, the curiosity regarding Trump’s energy policy is less about what he might come up with, and more about how much he would or would not stay in line with existing initiatives. More specifically, many have been waiting on word about whether or not Trump will withdraw the U.S. from the same Paris Climate Agreement that Clinton had so staunchly pledged to stick to.

Trump has entered the office of the presidency with a flurry of executive orders, making it clear that he intends to shake things up and to at least put forth the appearance that he’s following through on campaign promises. This has made for an extremely busy first two weeks of his presidency, causing round-the-clock news coverage and a great deal of controversy. But amidst all of Trump’s dramatic decisions, climate policy has been left alone so far. There has been media speculation about what’s to come, and new British Prime Minister Theresa May, who recently visited the U.S. to meet with Trump, told Parliament she hoped Trump would honor the Paris deal. But for the first 10 days and then some of the Trump presidency, the new administration itself has been largely silent on energy.

There’s a chance that this is about to change. Following some vague reports about the Trump administration reviewing climate policy, a story is now circulating that Trump will soon withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. The story appears to stem from comments from Myron Ebell, the head of the EPA transition team under Trump, and the decision is expected to become public in a matter of days. Ebell did acknowledge that he hasn’t met with Trump in person about this, however, and other men involved in the decision were quoted expressing anxiety about the possibility of a U.S. withdrawal.

It seems as though we may be on the brink of yet another dramatic decision by the newly inaugurated president as he seeks to do away with Obama’s legacy and enact his own policies—as controversial as some of them have already proven to be.

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