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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

48 mins ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.

By the numbers: Catholics, Biden and abortion

Expand chart
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Biden — the second Catholic U.S. president — will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday, as some church leaders debate whether to deny Holy Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.

By the numbers: Overall, two in three U.S. Catholics believe Biden should be allowed to take Communion despite his stance on abortion, according to polling by Pew Research Center.

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause, chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.