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CBS News: Trump Expected To Withdraw From Paris Climate Agreement

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/CBS News/AP) -- President Donald Trump is expected to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, CBS News has confirmed.

Wednesday evening, the president tweeted he "will be announcing my decision on the Paris Accord, Thursday at 3:00 P.M."

As first reported by Axios, the president made the decision to withdraw from the agreement, according to two sources that have direct knowledge of the decision, CBS News reported.

Details on how the U.S. will be withdrawing are still being worked out by a team including EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, CBS News reported.

Only two other nations in the world do not support the deal, CBS News reported: Nicaragua and Syria. The 2015 accord includes nearly 200 nations that agreed to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help fight climate change.

A White House official told the Associated Press there might be "caveats in the language" regarding the withdrawal from the accord, leaving open the possibility that the withdrawal may not be final and permanent.

Trump has long complained that the agreement will cost the U.S. up to six million jobs and promised to pull the U.S. out of the deal during his presidential campaign.

G-7 leaders pressed him not to abandon the agreement during his first overseas trip as president last week.

French President Emmanuel Macron also spoke with Trump at length about the issue during a meeting in Brussels and even at the Vatican, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin made his own pro-Paris pitch to Trump and his advisers.

A senior European Union official told reporters the EU and China will reaffirm their commitment to the Paris accord this week regardless of Trump's decision. The EU and China will also spell out how they plan to meet their commitments to the accord, the official said.

Trump's top aides have been divided on the accord. On Wednesday afternoon, Trump was to meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has favored remaining in the deal. Chief strategist Steve Bannon supports an exit, while senior adviser Jared Kushner generally thinks the deal is bad, but would like to find a way to see if the U.S. emissions targets can be changed.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham thinks pulling out of the deal is a mistake.

"That would be a definitive statement by the president that he believes climate change is a hoax," he said. "Stay in the deal, make it a better deal, would be my advice."

News of Trump's expected decision drew swift reaction from the United Nations. The organization's main Twitter page quoted Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as saying, "Climate change is undeniable. Climate change is unstoppable. Climate solutions provide opportunities that are unmatchable."

The Sierra Club's executive director, Michael Brune, called the expected move a "historic mistake which our grandchildren will look back on with stunned dismay at how a world leader could be so divorced from reality and morality."

"There's a giant difference between putting America first and making America an international pariah," Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio also said he does not agree with President Donald Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Accord and says New York City should take matters into its own hands.

As WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported, de Blasio declared that pulling out of the deal, as he put it, would be "horribly destructive to the earth."

"This is a dagger aimed straight at the heart of New York City," de Blasio said. "We have to understand that if climate change is not addressed one of the greatest coastal cities on the earth will be increasingly threatened."

Trump claimed before taking office that climate change was a "hoax" created by the Chinese to hurt the U.S. economy. Such an assertion stands in defiance of broad scientific consensus.

But Trump's chief White House economic adviser, Gary Cohn, told reporters during the trip abroad that Trump's views on climate change were "evolving" following the president's discussions with European leaders.

Word of Trump's expected decision comes a day after the president met with Pruitt, who has questioned the consensus of climate scientists that the Earth is warming and that man-made climate emissions are to blame.

Once in power, Trump and Pruitt have moved to delay or roll back federal regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions while pledging to revive the long-struggling U.S. coal mines.

What is not yet clear is whether Trump plans to initiate a formal withdrawal from the Paris accord, which under the terms of the agreement could take three years, or exit the underlying U.N. climate change treaty on which the accord was based.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and 21 other Republican sent Trump a letter last week urging him to follow through on his campaign pledge to pull out of the climate accord. Most of the senators who signed are from states that depend on the continued burning of coal, oil and gas.

There have been influential voices urging Trump not to ditch the Paris accord. Forty Democratic senators sent Trump a letter urging him to stay in, saying a withdrawal would hurt America's credibility and influence on the world stage.

Hundreds of high-profile businesses have spoken out in favor of the deal, including Apple, Google and Walmart. Even fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil, BP and Shell say the United States should abide by the deal.

The U.S. is the world's second largest emitter of carbon, following only China. Beijing, however, has reaffirmed its commitment to meeting its targets under the Paris accord, recently canceling construction of about 100 coal-fired power plants and investing billions in massive wind and solar projects.

Thursday's announcement will take place in the White House Rose Garden, according to the president.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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