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Charlie Riedel / AP

The issue:

President Trump's decision to pull out of the global Paris climate agreement — joining Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries not in the pact — will signal to the world that his administration does not view climate change as a significant concern.

Focus on this: Trump's call to withdraw might sway other countries around the globe, especially developing countries like India, to move away from an active position on combatting climate change.

The facts:

There's consensus: Of the peer-reviewed climate science papers that take a position on climate change, more than 97% agree that it is real and likely caused by human activity. NASA has a collection of major scientific organizations that also endorse this position.

The scientific evidence, per NASA:

  • Temperature: Earth's average surface temperature has risen by 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 1800s. And 16 of the 17 warmest years on record have taken place since 2001 — with 2016 as the warmest ever recorded.
  • Sea level: Global sea levels rose by 0.19 meters during the period from 1901 to 2010, but the NOAA predicts a rise of 0.3 to 2.5 meters during this century alone. A rise of 0.35 meters would increase the risk of damaging and disruptive flooding by 25 times for major U.S. coastal cities — and that could happen by 2030.
  • Sea ice: The extent of Arctic sea ice was at its lowest ever maximum this year, more than a half a million square miles below its long-term average.
  • Glaciers: The World Glacial Monitoring Service said that "the rates of early 21st-century [glacial] mass loss are without precedent on a global scale, at least for the time period observed and probably also for recorded history."
  • Extreme weather: Since 1950 the United States has become more likely to see record high temperatures and less likely to see record low temperatures — all while extreme weather events like drought become more common.
  • Ocean acidification: Carbon dioxide emitted into the air is absorbed by the oceans — as a result, the oceans' acidity has increased by 30 percent since the late 1800s — which harms coral reefs and other creatures that serve as the base of the sea's food web.
Why it matters:

Axios' Amy Harder summed it up in her analysis of the decision yesterday: "Trump's planned decision to withdraw from the deal will set the world back on an environmental issue nearly every other country realizes and acknowledges is a real problem in need of a global solution."

Go deeper

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.