Nicaragua says it is joining the Paris climate pact, leaving Trump's America alone outside with Syria
When President Trump announced that he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris global climate agreement, there were only two other countries that had not signed on to the pact, designed to slow or reverse the effects of climate change: Syria and Nicaragua. On Wednesday, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said his country will sign the agreement "soon." Nicaragua did not sign in 2015 on the grounds that it did not require deep enough emission cuts from wealthy nations, but Ortega said on state TV Wednesday that the country has decided to sign the accord now out of solidarity with "this large amount of countries that are the first victims, that are already victims, and that are going to continue suffering the [effects] of these disasters," namely countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Peter Weber
North Korea is joining the chorus of countries upset with President Trump for choosing to withdraw from the Paris Agreement to combat climate change.
The move, a spokesman for the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, represents "the height of egoism" and proves the U.S. is "seeking only their own well-being, even at the cost of the entire planet. The selfish act of the U.S. does not only have grave consequences for the international efforts to protect the environment, but poses great danger to other areas as well." The spokesman couldn't resist adding another dig at the United States, saying the U.S. is "unreasonable and reckless" with its approach to North Korea's nuclear program.
North Korea, like nearly every other country on Earth, is a signatory on the agreement. CNN reports that the country is pushing renewable technologies and has made a "declaration of war" against deforestation. Catherine Garcia
President Trump's top advisers are split on whether Trump should pull out of the global Paris climate agreement signed in 2015, but after two meetings — one with relevant Cabinet officials and top aides last Thursday and another with administration lawyers on Monday — those advocating for scrapping the landmark deal "have gained the upper hand," The Washington Post reports, citing "participants in the discussions and those briefed on the deliberations."
The momentum away from staying in the climate pact reportedly started with White House counsel Don McGahn, who is arguing that staying in the agreement will cause legal headaches for Trump as he works to unwind former President Barack Obama's clean-energy programs; State Department lawyers, previous White House counsels, and international diplomats strenuously disagree with that interpretation, saying nothing in the Paris accord prevents any of the 194 signatory nations from reducing targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
Along with McGahn, chief strategist Stephen Bannon and EPA chief Scott Pruitt are in favor of pulling out of the accord, while economic adviser Gary Kohn, daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are said to back sticking with the Paris climate pact. Now, "this is solely down to the big dogs in the West Wing," an industry source tells Axios. "Support staff has been told to stand down and the president will sort it out with input from the Bannons, Cohns, and Kushners of the world." Trump has said he will make a decision in a few weeks, before a G7 meeting at the end of May. Peter Weber
Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, apparently intervened to cut language critical of the Paris climate deal from a forthcoming executive order from President Trump, The Wall Street Journal reports:
Mr. Trump is expected to sign within days at least two executive orders that will begin the process of trying to dismantle former President Barack Obama's climate and environmental regulations. Mr. Kushner, a senior adviser to Mr. Trump, and Ms. Trump, the president's eldest daughter, intervened to strike language about the climate deal from an earlier draft of the executive order, according to [multiple people familiar with the move]. The executive order, which targets Mr. Obama's broad climate agenda, now includes no mention of the climate deal, which nearly 200 nations struck in Paris in 2015, in large part due to a strong push by Mr. Obama’s administration. [The Wall Street Journal]
On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer sidestepped a question about if President Trump plans to withdraw from the monumental climate agreement that was signed in April of last year and lays out a cooperative approach to combating climate change and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Spicer referred reporters to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the topic; Tillerson has previously backed the Paris agreement, The Hill reports.
Ivanka Trump and Kushner, for their part, are increasingly seen as a moderating force against President Trump. Earlier this month it was reported that the pair worked to sink an executive order that would have limited protections of LGBTQ people. Jeva Lange