Oct 24, 2019

Trump's looming move to leave the Paris climate agreement

President Trump at a press conference in January. Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

President Trump is making life more complicated for climate change advocates and K Street alike — in ways obvious and sometimes less so.

Driving the news: The climate world was abuzz Wednesday at reports that Trump will imminently begin the one-year process to bail on the Paris agreement.

  • Trump announced his intent to abandon the deal in 2017, but formally setting it in motion would, as the New York Times put it, be a "powerful signal to the world" about the U.S. climate posture.

The big picture: Trump's climate stances — with the Paris move, pulling back regulations and rejecting consensus science — have shifted K Street's tectonic plates.

  • A number of big companies and business groups — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and oil giants like Shell — support the non-binding Paris pact.
  • Look for industry backers to reiterate that support when Trump sets the formal withdrawal clock ticking.
  • It's not the only rupture between the White House and powerful industries. Major automakers have balked at draft plans to prevent auto mileage standards from getting tougher, while oil giants don't like plans to abandon regulation of methane.

My thought bubble: Here's one of the subtle ways Trump is making things more complicated for climate advocates in some respects ...

  • By moving hard-right on climate, he gives powerful industries an opening to show climate credentials by merely staying to his left.
  • This is all happening at a time when advocates want far more aggressive steps from regulators and companies alike to confront climate change as global emissions keep rising.

Where it stands: There was no sign of that formal withdrawal notification when Trump spoke at a shale energy conference in Pennsylvania yesterday.

  • But he did use the speech to bash the agreement in comments that left the impression he thought the withdrawal was already complete.
  • "I withdrew the United States from the terrible, one-sided Paris climate accord," he said.

Go deeper

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 5,428,605 — Total deaths: 345,375 — Total recoveries — 2,179,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil Over 100 cases in Germany tied to single day of church services.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.