By Rebecca Stoken, National News Writer
Significant confusion regarding President Trump’s position on the Paris Climate Accord has increased over the previous weekend of September 16th – 17th. President Trump stated back in June of this year that the United States would be pulling out of the agreement. Now, however, it seems like there may be room for negotiation, particularly with the buzz surrounding the President’s recent United Nations speech in New York City.
According to Eco Watch, multiple reports hint at a White House official suggesting that the administration could lighten up its position at an upcoming energy summit in Montreal. When the administration was questioned on this, the White House reaffirmed its rejection of the agreement, but other contradictory statements soon followed. National security advisor H. R. McMaster stated on ABC that the United States might end up staying in the agreement if the terms could be renegotiated, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson added that the nation might stay “under the right conditions.” Trump economic advisor Gary Cohn, however, repeated the initial message, that the President will follow through with withdrawing from the agreement, unless, according to CNN, it becomes more favorable to the United States.
The President’s initial decision to exit the climate agreement provoked much international backlash. The Independent notes that only two countries have excluded themselves from the agreement – Nicaragua denied joining because it felt that the stipulations could be stricter, and Syria did not join because it is in the middle of a civil war and does not have the resources to contribute. Aside from these two small countries, the rest of the world has agreed to implement the guidelines of the accord, which is a voluntary pledge. The agreement aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move towards electrical alternatives, particularly in developing nations.
President Obama was still in office during the drafting of the agreement, and devoted $3 billion dollars toward the climate efforts involved. So far, about $1 billion of that amount has been paid. It is not clear what President Trump would exactly like to change regarding the terms of the agreement. Many parts of the United States, led by state governors and municipal mayors, have decided to ignore the President’s decision and determined to accept and follow the guidelines of the agreement on their own. In the meantime, President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords will take over three years to negotiate, which gives the administration time to work on an alternative agreement, one that preferably suits the economic interests of the United States.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, September 26th print edition.
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