MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – US President Donald Trump has decided to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, US media reports said Wednesday, May 31.
Political website Axios, citing "two sources with direct knowledge of the decision," reported that the details of how the US will withdraw are now being worked out.
Those in charge of hammering out the details include Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"They're deciding on whether to initiate a full, formal withdrawal – which could take 3 years – or exit the underlying United Nations climate change treaty, which would be faster but more extreme," the Axios report said.
The White House did not confirm the reports, while Trump restated that his decision would be announced this week.
"I will be announcing my decision on the Paris Accord over the next few days. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" he tweeted.
An American pullout from the 196-nation Paris Agreement would deal a major blow to the so-called "climate diplomacy" which, less than 18 months ago, celebrated the historic pact made possible by a hard-fought agreement between Beijing and Washington, under president Barack Obama's leadership.
Under Trump, who once called climate change a "hoax" perpetrated by China, Washington has resisted intense pressure from its partners to commit to respecting the global 2015 accord on curbing carbon emissions.
The US is the world's biggest carbon emitter after China.
Abandoning the Paris agreement would carry a high political cost internationally, with Europe, Canada, China, and Japan all strongly committed to the deal.
Pruitt has overtly advocated quitting a deal he judges "bad" for America.
But the corporate world has by and large come out in favor of staying in the accord. A dozen large groups including the oil major BP, agrochemical giant DuPont, Google, Intel, and Microsoft, have urged Trump to remain part of the deal.
Under Obama, the United States had pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. – KD Suarez, with reports from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com