Energy

Former Trump Official Says White House Will Back Out Of Paris Agreement Very Soon

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

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Chris White Tech Reporter

President Donald Trump will likely bow out of last year’s Paris climate agreement by executive order sometime later this week, according to a former official with the president’s transition team.

Trump could leave the multi-nation agreement “by executive order tomorrow or he could do it as part of a larger package,” Myron Ebell, director of environmental policy at Competitive Enterprise Institute, told reporters Monday in London. CEI is a libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C.

“The U.S. will clearly change its course on climate policy. Trump has made it clear he will withdraw from the Paris Agreement,” said Ebell, who helped guide the EPA’s transition after Trump was elected.

The president signed two memos Jan. 26 broadly eliminating funding for any United Nations agencies who give full membership to terrorist organizations or who support programs that fund abortion.

The memos also direct committees to enact “at least a 40 percent overall decrease” in remaining funding toward international organizations and instruct committees to review any further treaties.

Trump, who made dismantling the Paris agreement a central part of his campaign message, does not intend to directly target the agreement, but instead will reduce U.N. funding, according to a Wednesday report by The News York Times. Former President Barack Obama pledged the U.S. would cut emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025.

Ebell said the best way for Trump to void the agreement would be to withdraw from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the coalition of nearly 200 countries that signed the pact.

“Whether the U.N. secretariat wants the U.S. to continue to have a seat at the table is up to them. I don’t think Trump cares about that. The people who elected him would prefer not to have a seat at the table,” he added.

Several U.N. member countries voiced concern about the U.S. potentially vacating the agreement, mainly because they worry the pact will have no teeth without U.S. financial heft.

Former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who is seeking the Socialist Party nomination, for instance, told reporters on Jan. 24 that he would place a carbon tax on American goods if the president refused to stay true to the United climate agreement.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is one of the mechanisms created to help finance some of the aspects of the Paris agreement. A total of $10.3 billion has been pledged so far, which is meant to cover investments for countries that struggle to meet carbon reduction measures.

Pages detailing aspects of the GCF, as well as the Climate Action Report, and other pages on global climate finance were deleted from the Department of State website Jan. 26, suggesting the Trump administration is reviewing aspects of the GCF.

Other reports that had previously shown up under the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs site have also been jettisoned, according to a report published Thursday by Politico.

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