Trump officials to deliberate on Paris climate pact

U.S. President Donald Trump | Joe Raedle  Getty Images

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt said Thursday during an appearance on Fox and Friendsthat the United States should exit the Paris climate agreement because the accord only serves the interests of Europe, China and India.

"BP welcomed the Paris agreement when it was signed, and we continue to support it", said Geoff Morrell, a company spokesman.

Companies from Starbucks and Pepsi to oil giant ExxonMobil and coal producer Cloud Peak Energy have lobbied the Trump administration to stay in the Paris agreement.

The Obama administration agreed to reduce U.S. emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below its 2005 levels by the year 2025. Instead, API spokesman Michael Tadeo casts the accord as a missed opportunity to talk about USA leadership "in reducing carbon emissions which are near 30-year lows in electricity generation due to increased use of natural gas brought by hydraulic fracturing".

Trump's team will reportedly meet to discuss whether to exit the Paris Agreement.

The advisers and Cabinet officials hope to be able to reach consensus on a recommendation to the president, though that could prove hard, as they are divided over whether to abandon the agreement.

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Pruitt announced the change this week. ExxonMobil sent a letter to White House Adviser David Banks in March in favor of staying in the Paris deal.

They added, "We can't help wondering if the thousands of university professors, environmental activists, climatologists and government bureaucrats would be so enthusiastic if it were their jobs that were going to be eliminated".

McKenna said a carbon tax seemed to be the only possible change to the U.S.'s commitments that would make them more ambitious and could also be construed as better for the economy. "We're going to look very carefully". "Why would the USA give up the opportunity to stay at the table, even if it's just to tell everybody they're wrong?"

Justin Guay, climate program officer for the Packard Foundation, said countries like China and India would continue to shift toward clean energy even if the United States retreated, adding: "It is most important that the US stays at the table".

Some argue not pulling out the Paris agreement would be largely symbolic, since Trump's already begun to roll back Obama-era regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Any diplomatic blowback from global allies would be short-lived, argues Chris Horner, a senior legal fellow with the Energy and Environment Legal Institute.

Since the emissions reduction targets in the Paris agreement are not legally binding, withdrawing from the accord would, in many ways, be a symbolic move - one that's sure to be greeted enthusiastically by the President's core supporters. Paris opponents plan a deep analysis on those potential legal risks to bolster their case against staying.

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