US Expected to Withdraw from Paris Climate Accord, Could Russia be Deciding Factor?
In what can only be deemed a fatal blow to President Obama’s climate legacy, Donald Trump is expected to announce a withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord at any time.
With relationships across the European Union (EU) quickly deteriorating, many question the moral and ethical repercussions of his decision.
Led by Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 22 Republican Senators have submitted a letter to the White House calling for a clean exit from the Accord, which former President Obama coined, “the moment we finally decided to save our planet”.
In an apparent move to rally Trump’s loyalist base, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt orchestrated a campaign to sway Trump towards a withdrawal.
Viewed as a good faith global initiative, Paris holds no appeal to Nationalists’ “America First” rhetoric, with many in the GOP claiming potentially profound consequences to the American workforce. With Trump’s refusal to join allies in endorsing the accord at the G7 Summit last Saturday, the announcement has come as no surprise to supporters of the initiative.
With US emissions of carbon dioxide second only to China, the administration’s skepticism of global warming is of great concern to environmentalists world-wide.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson along with big oil companies, Exxon, Mobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, and BP have urged Trump to stay, citing the need to move forward towards a global framework to address climate change.
In February of this year Shell released a report predicting demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) will rise 4% to 5% each year to 2030. The report highlights the fact that LNG emits half the greenhouse gas emissions as coal when burned.
According to officials at the White House, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have also voiced their support for the US to honor the agreement made by the previous administration in Paris.
As candidate Donald Trump addressed his supporters during the 2016 presidential campaign, he repeatedly referred to climate change as a “hoax” claiming America’s participation in the accord as simply a “bad deal” for America.
He later stated in a New York Times article that he has an “open mind” about the agreement citing the impact on the US workforce as his number one concern.
Many oil industry insiders balked at Trump’s campaign promise to bring back jobs to coal miners with research pointing directly towards more demand for LNG production.
As information of the looming decision to exit Paris makes the news, Democrats are quick to point to the half million-dollar donation made to the Trump campaign by Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of Venezuelan oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA.
The donation came just days after 49.9% of Citgo’s holdings were mortgaged to Kremlin controlled oil company, Rosneft, who’s CEO Igor Sechin is said to be seated at Putin’s right hand at the geopolitical seat of Russian power.
Last month, a letter was sent to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin by a group of six bipartisan Senators stating their concern.
“We are extremely concerned that Rosneft’s control of a major U.S. energy supplier could pose a grave threat to American energy security, impact the flow of and price of gasoline for American consumers, and expose critical U.S. infrastructure to national security threats,” the six Senators said.
A House Foreign Affairs Sub Committee has requested an investigation by CFIUS, the multi-agency committee on foreign investment in the U.S. to determine whether ownership of Citgo has been acquired by Rosneft. The request is pending as of this report.
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