The major players outside the White House:
- EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt helped orchestrate a campaign along with conservative interest groups that rallied Trump’s most ardent supporters.
- Obama administration officials, including John Podesta and Todd Stern, urging Trump to stay in the deal tied the issue to people unpopular with Trump.
- Most major fossil-fuel companies supported staying in Paris, but they weren’t as loud and persistent as the conservative interests pulling the other way, such as the 22 Senate Republicans who sent a letter last week to Trump urging him to withdraw.
- Backers of the deal, including world leaders, were not united in pushing for the U.S. to stay in the deal but ratchet down the commitment put forth by former President Obama, which muddled the debate at the G-7 meeting last week and didn’t create a convincing argument to Trump.
The warring views inside the White House:
- Nationalists, as captured by my colleague Jonathan Swan: Paris is the antithesis of America First. It’s a global deal, which other major countries have no interest in abiding by in good faith, that has potentially profound consequences for American workers. Withdrawing from the climate deal is just as if not more significant than withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which Trump began the process of withdrawing from as one of his first acts as president.
- Globalists: If America withdraws from the deal, it’d be America alone, not America first. Leaving the deal leaves millions of U.S. dollars on the table funneled to the global climate effort by the Obama administration. The U.S. has more leverage and power by remaining at the negotiating table than by leaving. Ivanka has been aggressively arguing for him to stay in, sources told Swan.
- Not mentioned: The environmental and public health consequences of climate change are not top of mind for either perspective.
How Trump is playing it: As with his VP decision, the president has been expressing doubt, soliciting opinions right up to last minute (including this morning.) But he’s already set the wheels in motion for withdrawal. The policy debate at highest level has shifted mostly to the mechanism. Trump tweeted Wednesday morning he intends to make a decision on the deal in the next few days, insuring uncertainty will persist until the official announcement is made given Trump’s unpredictable nature.
To be clear: President Trump’s planned decision to withdraw from the deal will set the world back on an environmental issue nearly every other country realizes and acknowledges is a real problem in need of a global solution. The U.S. is now joining just two other countries, Syria and Nicaragua, in not supporting the deal.
Should the Trump Administration pull out of the deal, while lifting the regulations that have stifled businesses and power plants from modernizing their systems, this administration is set to be more effective than any Democrat-lead administration on actual issues that effect the environment.