Twenty-two Republican senators have sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to exit the Paris Climate Agreement signed by Barack Obama last November.
The letter, which is signed by the likes of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, urges Trump to make a “clean break” from the agreement. An excerpt, published on Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe’s website, reads:
Because of existing provisions within the Clean Air Act and others embedded in the Paris Agreement, remaining in it would subject the United States to significant litigation risk that could upend your Administration’s ability to fulfill its goal of rescinding the Clean Power Plan. Accordingly, we strongly encourage you to make a clean break from the Paris Agreement.
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump was a prominent critic of the deal, promising to “cancel” it, and this week he refused to sign a statement endorsing the agreement. Although Trump could not instantly pull America out, he could initiate the process for the country’s exit.
However, Trump has recently toned down his rhetoric and delayed a decision on the agreement, amid reports that the administration is divided over the issue.
Some of Trump’s closest advisers including Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson believe that the United States should remain in the Paris accord, while EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, chief strategist Steve Bannon and Energy Secretary Rick Perry have called to exit.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer previously confirmed that Trump would make a decision on the agreement following a meeting with international industrial leaders at the G7 summit this weekend.
Other world leaders will lobby Trump to stay in the Paris climate agreement at the G-7 meeting, given that all other G-7 members – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the European Union – support the agreement.
Since taking office, Trump has revoked a range of environmental legislation—including Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan regulations – with a plan to focus on energy independence and revitalize the coal industry. In his first White House budget, Trump proposed a 31 percent cut to the EPA’s overall budget.