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By Michael Bastasch
President Donald Trump will fulfill his campaign pledge to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision say.
Trump is working with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt and a small group of administration officials to work out how withdrawal will happen, Axios reported Wednesday. Trump is deciding between waiting three years to withdraw, as dictated by the accord, or pulling out of the United Nations overarching climate treaty.
Exiting the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been championed by conservatives who want to make sure a future president can’t simply rejoin the Paris agreement, which 147 countries signed onto in 2016.
Pruitt met with Trump Tuesday to discuss the Paris accord, sparking a wave of speculation the president had decided to live up to his campaign promise. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the two discussed “the president’s upcoming decision of the Paris climate accords.”
“Ultimately, he wants a fair deal for the American people, and he will have an announcement on that shortly,” Spicer told reporters Tuesday.
Axios previously reported Trump told close confidantes he would pull out of the Paris agreement, despite calls from European leaders and some in his own administration to stay in the accord.
U.N. Secretary General António Guterres made a last ditch attempt to keep Trump in the agreement during a speech at New York University Tuesday night. Guterres said countries that leave the Paris accord will be left behind.
“The sustainability train has left the station,” Guterres said. “Get on board or get left behind.”
Trump’s decision to leave, if true, would be a huge blow to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House aides Jared Kushner and Gary Cohn, all of whom pushed for the U.S. to remain in the Paris accord.
Conservative groups and Republican officials intensified their efforts to get Trump to withdraw from Paris in the past week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and 21 other Republican Senators sent a letter to Trump in late May urging him to withdraw.
“We applaud you for your ongoing efforts to reduce over regulation in America,” the senators wrote. “To continue on this path, we urge you to make a clean exit from the Paris agreement so that your administration can follow through on its commitment to rescind the Clean Power Plan.”
Trump will announce his decision on the fate of U.S. involvement in the Paris agreement this week.