Will We Always Have Paris?

by Ramesh Ponnuru

President Trump said during the campaign that he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris accord on climate change. But Trump decided not to act on that promise in his first days in office, and whether to make good on it has reportedly been the subject of intense debate inside the administration.

Some opponents of the accord may have taken White House counsel Don McGahn’s opposition to it—he thinks staying in it would make it harder for the administration to withstand legal challenges to its scrapping of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan—to mean that they had won the debate. The Washington Post in early May reported that McGahn’s side had the “momentum.”

Some of the opponents remain nervous. McGahn, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, and White House strategist Steve Bannon have been the only strong advocates of withdrawal in the administration. Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are said to want Trump to leave the accord in place. Energy secretary Rick Perry is in the middle, having said last month, “I’m not going to tell the president of the United States, ‘Let’s just walk away from the Paris accord,’ but we probably need to renegotiate it.”

Trump will be attending the G7 meeting in Sicily a week from now. With this decision still unmade, he can expect to be lobbied nonstop to stay in the accord.

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