NYT Excerpt: By CORAL DAVENPORT MARCH 2, 2017
WASHINGTON — The White House is fiercely divided over President Trump’s campaign promise to “cancel” the Paris agreement, the 2015 accord that binds nearly every country to curb global warming, with more moderate voices maintaining that he should stick with the agreement despite his campaign pledge.
Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s senior adviser, is pressing the president to officially pull the United States from the landmark accord, but he is clashing with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, who fear the move could have broad and damaging diplomatic ramifications.
Mr. Trump vowed on the campaign trail to tear up President Barack Obama’s global warming policies, and on the home front he is moving aggressively to meet those pledges with deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and a new E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, who is a skeptic of climate science.
Next week, Mr. Trump plans to sign an executive order directing Mr. Pruitt to start the lengthy legal process of unwinding Mr. Obama’s E.P.A. regulations for cutting greenhouse pollution from coal-fired power plants. Those regulations are the linchpin of the last administration’s program to meet the nation’s obligations to reduce climate emissions under the Paris agreement.
While the president cannot, as Mr. Trump suggested, unilaterally undo a 194-nation accord that has already been legally ratified, he could initiate the four-year process to withdraw the world’s largest economy and second-largest climate polluter from the first worldwide deal to tackle global warming. Such a move would rend a global deal that has been hailed as historic, throwing into question the fate of global climate policy and, diplomats say, the credibility of the United States.
But it would also demonstrate to his supporters that Mr. Trump is a man of his word, putting American coal interests ahead of a global deal forged by Mr. Obama.
“The two greatest obstacles to a Clexit (climate exit from U.N. Paris agreement) are probably Ivanka and Tillerson,” wrote Marc Morano, a former Republican Senate staff member who now runs Climate Depot, a fossil-fuel-industry-funded website that promotes the denial of climate science, in an email. “Tillerson with his ‘seat at the table’ views could be biggest proponent of not withdrawing the U.S. from the agreement.”
Mr. Tillerson is a former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, which, like many major global corporations, endorsed the Paris agreement. While his former company once denied human-caused climate change, it has more recently publicly acknowledged the threat posed by burning oil and supported proposals to tax carbon dioxide pollution.
Asked during his Senate confirmation hearing about the Paris accord, Mr. Tillerson said, “It’s important that the U.S. maintains its seat at the table about how to address the threat of climate change, which does require a global response.”