President Donald Trump has decided that the United States will leave the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a new report.
Axios reported late Saturday, citing sources with direct knowledge of the situation, that Trump has already informed multiple people in the government, including EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, that he intends to pull the U.S. from the international climate change deal.
The agreement, which former President Barack Obama affirmed last year, was adopted in Dec. 2015 at a United Nations climate change convention and went into effect last November. The agreement seeks to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
Pulling out of the deal would arguably be the biggest unravel of Obama-era climate policies and may even cause the entire deal to collapse.
If Trump has already made his decision regarding the deal, then it would be a break from what he's said publicly this week.
On Saturday, during a G7 Summit in Italy, Trump refused to join his G7 counterparts in pledging to remain faithful to the Paris agreement, and offered his explanation why on Twitter.
"I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!" Trump tweeted Saturday.
During his campaign for the White House last year, Trump promised that as president he would withdraw the U.S. from the deal and reverse many of Obama's climate change policies.
However, even if Trump's mind is already decided and he plans to withdraw the U.S. from the deal, any removal option will likely take some time.
According to Axios, Trump has three options:
Trump could announce he is pulling the U.S. from the deal, which would trigger a withdrawal process that wouldn't conclude until November 2020 at the earliest. Under the deal's terms, any country can't send notice of its intent to withdraw until three years after the deal entered into force, which was Nov. 4, 2016. The actual process of withdrawal would then take one year. In this time, it's feasible Trump could change his mind, the administration source said.
Trump could declare that the Paris deal is actually a legal treaty that requires Senate approval. Such a vote would fail, and then Trump would have Senate backing to not abide by the deal, which he deems a treaty. A letter that 22 Senate Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, sent to Trump this week urging him to withdraw from the deal, increases the odds of this happening, the source said. Trump could also call for a Senate vote in combination with either the first or third option.
Trump could withdraw the U.S. from the treaty that underpins the Paris deal, which is called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This would be the most extreme option because it would take the U.S. out of all global climate diplomacy. This process would take just one year.
Trump is back in the U.S. Sunday after spending the last nine days making various stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Belgium. The trip was his first foreign trip as president.