President Trump still undecided on Paris climate accord

ANGELOS BERBERAKIS
ISTANBUL
Published 31.05.2017 23:52
Updated 07.06.2017 17:34

Amid media reports that the United States was to allegedly withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, President Donald Trump tweeted yesterday that he would soon declare his intentions.

"I will be announcing my decision on the Paris Accord over the next few days," President Trump wrote on Twitter.

Before Trump's Twitter announcement, the news website, Axios, citing "two unnamed sources" described as having direct knowledge of the move, claimed that Trump has made the decision to quit the agreement. Axios said that the White House has yet to settle on a means for pulling out, either through a formal process of leaving the agreement or cancelling the United Nations climate treaty on which the Paris deal is based. A letter from 22 Republican U.S. senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, called for the President to withdraw from the 2015 agreement.

The accord, agreed on by nearly 200 countries in Paris, aims to limit planetary warming in part by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Under the pact, the United States committed to reducing its emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.

European leaders were especially dismayed by Trump's refusal to reaffirm U.S. support for last year's Paris climate change accord and his failure to publicly endorse NATO's mutual defense pledge. While Trump received a warm welcome in Saudi Arabia and Israel, he left behind a bitter taste in Europe after the NATO summit in Brussels and the G7 get-together of the world's richest powers in Sicily.

The transatlantic diplomatic rift widened on Tuesday as U.S. President Donald Trump responded to criticism from Chancellor Angela Merkel with a new attack on German trade tactics and defense spending.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted that the leaders "get on very well" but, as is often the case, his warm words from the White House podium were overshadowed by the president's tweets.

Germany was particularly discomfited, and Merkel wasted no time in warning German voters that the United States can no longer be relied upon as before. Merkel spoke similarly of the UK. Trump's response came in the early hours of Tuesday when he took to Twitter to once again demand that Germany renegotiate the terms of transatlantic trade and boost its defense spending. "We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military," Trump wrote. "Very bad for US. This will change."

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