President Donald Trump Withdraws U.S. From Paris Climate Agreement

by John Haltiwanger
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Update Thursday 3:40 PM EST:

President Trump officially announced the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate accord, AP reports.

He said the U.S. will cease from adhering to the "non-binding" and "draconian" terms of the deal, but might consider renegotiating it or agreeing to a separate deal.

President Donald Trump decided to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, a global deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to curb global warming, on Thursday.

White House officials have told congressional staffers and conservative groups that Trump will put out of the agreement, according to Politico.

The Trump administration seems very pleased with itself about this.

In spite of "intense" pressure from Ivanka Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, it seems Trump has decided to move forward and step away from the landmark climate deal.

The U.S. joins just two other nations -- Nicaragua and Syria -- in not participating in the climate treaty.

The process for withdrawing from the climate deal is complex.

Under the deal's terms, countries can't withdraw from the Paris climate accord until three years after it went into effect -- November 6, 2016.

This means the U.S. has to stay with the deal until November 2019.

The deal's rules also stipulate a one-year waiting period to withdraw from it.

In other words, the U.S. can't officially withdraw from the Paris climate accord until 2020, or around the end of Trump's first term in office.

There are other routes to withdraw more quickly, but they carry a higher risk of diplomatic backlash.

It's not clear exactly which route Trump plans to take, but he appears determined to undo former President Barack Obama's work on addressing climate change on both a domestic and international level.

Experts agree this sets a terrible example for the world.

Under the Paris climate accord, the U.S. agreed to reduce greenhouse emissions from by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.

The U.S. is not only the world's most powerful nation in multiple respects, it's also the world's second-largest greenhouse gas polluter.

So, in spite of the fact it could take Trump several years to fully withdraw from the Paris climate accord, this arguably sets a terrible precedent for other countries.

If the U.S. won't commit to combatting climate change, it gives smaller countries a justifiable excuse to do the same.

The vast major of climate scientists agree that climate change is happening, and is linked to human activities.

Simply put, the experts have warned us that burying our heads in the sand on this issue will only lead to our own demise.

Trump, who's referred to climate change as a "hoax," has argued there are economic benefits to withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, but economists do not seem to agree.

The president's decision to withdraw from the deal seems to be fundamentally motivated by ideology, rather than the facts.

Citations: White House tells supporters it will exit Paris deal (Politico)