Global reaction pours in as Trump nears climate deal decision

Last Updated Jun 1, 2017 4:53 AM EDT

WASHINGTON -- During a photo op with the leader of Vietnam Wednesday, President Trump was asked if he is going to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

"You're going to find out very soon," Mr. Trump said.

He seemed to suggest he still hasn't made up his mind.

"I'm hearing from a lot of people, both ways," he said.

But CBS News confirms that the president has started to tell confidants he will withdraw from the agreement. Reports to that effect ricocheted around the globe, drawing criticism from world leaders.  

"Climate change is a global challenge. No country can place itself outside of this," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a daily news briefing.

On Thursday, the BBC reported that China and the European Union were drafting a joint statement to be delivered after an EU-China summit in Brussels on Friday. In it, the two powers will reportedly say the Paris climate agreement is "an imperative more important than ever."

"The EU and China are joining forces to forge ahead on the implementation of the Paris agreement and accelerate the global transition to clean energy," EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete told the Guardian newspaper. 

The prime minister of India said it would be a "crime" to spoil the environment for future generations.

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

Reuters

Finland's prime minister said climate change won't be reversed "by closing your eyes."

In Berlin, the head of the European Commission lectured Mr. Trump that "not everything in international agreements is fake news."

Only two nations -- Syria and Nicaragua -- oppose the climate accord.

During the campaign, Mr. Trump dismissed the scientific consensus that rising temperatures are caused primarily by fossil fuels like coal and oil. 

But even most major American businesses -- from Exxon to Apple -- support the agreement.

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Brian Deese

CBS News

Brian Deese, who was President Obama's point person on the Paris accord, says it's not just about the environment -- it's about the economy. 

"Across the globe we have a competition for who's going to be the clean energy superpower of the 21st century and who is going to gain the economic benefits from doing that," Deese said. "But we can't win if we step off the playing field and disengage all together."

There is still some uncertainty about the president's decision. Sources say the president has discussed the possibility of renegotiating the agreement, but it's not clear that the rest of the world would go along.

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.