Washington insiders reaffirm administration’s intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement

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Despite recent reports to the contrary, President Donald Trump is planning on sticking with his plans to the United States out of the Paris climate agreement according to Washington insiders and policy analysts. Last week a report in the Wall Street Journal suggested that the White House intended to renegotiate terms of the agreement as opposed to abandon it all together. Though cabinet members consistently denied the reversal, they hinted that the US could yet remain in the deal under certain circumstances.

Jonathan Elkind, former assistant secretary for the US Energy Department’s Office of International Affairs stated that “the administration holds to that which was said by the President of the United States on the first of June.”

During that June 1st speech in the rose garden, the President stated that the government would “re-enter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States. As recently as this Saturday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reaffirmed that promise, tweeting that Trump is “withdrawing unless we get pro-America terms.”

European leaders, such as Germany, Italy, and France, have so far categorically and publicly rejected any notion of replacing or renegotiating the Paris Agreement. The agreements, which were intended to prevent global temperature levels from rising, has been adopted by 194 countries as of December 2016.

Trump, citing a report prepared for the American Council for Capital Formation, a conservative think tank, stated that following through with the agreement as is would cost the U.S. economy “nearly $3 trillion over the next several decades.”

The United States is unable to officially pull out of the agreement until November 2019. This would set full withdrawal sometime in 2020, as terms of the agreement require a year’s notice.

None the less, the Trump Administration has begun the process of dismantling the climate initiatives established in his predecessor with the intention to begin the process of achieving the U.S. Paris Agreement goals. Instead the White House has been pushing the country towards policies of energy dominance fueled by fossil fuel development.

Energy giants, including Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, and BP have all expressed support for staying in the Paris Agreements stating that it would create a level playing field that will help them compete with foreign rivals and creating jobs by funding investments in new technology.

In May of this year Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden told NPR, “We believe climate change is real, We believe that the world needs to go through an energy transition to prevent a very significant rise in global temperatures. And we need to be part of that solution in making it happen.”

As for Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner, in conjunction with 61 other mayors across the country, have independently pledged to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement terms within the city limits. He pledged to cut city greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by the year 2050 with the promise to “build and strengthen relationships around the world to protect the planet from devastating climate risks.”

Article written by HEI contributor Kevin Abbott.

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