WASHINGTON — Democratic lawmakers slammed President Trump on Wednesday as news spread that he plans to pull out of the Paris climate accord, but there’s not much they can do to about it if he does.
Trump has said he will make a decision by the end of the week, and news reports Wednesday indicated he is moving toward withdrawal.
A Republican-controlled Congress couldn’t stop President Barack Obama in 2015 from signing on to the treaty designed to cut lower the risks of climate change by cutting emissions, and the Democrats can’t stop Trump from pulling America out of the landmark deal signed by more than 190 countries.
The deal is considered an executive agreement, and therefor not a traditional treaty requiring ratification by two-thirds of the Senate, because it doesn’t bind the country to certain outcomes such as specific reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. It was a point highlighted by environmental activists two years ago when explaining why Obama could sign on to the accord without congressional consent.
That didn’t stop Democrats from venting.
“President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord is a stunning abdication of American leadership and a grave threat to our planet’s future,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement. “In walking away from this agreement, the President is denying scientific truths, removing safeguards that protect our health and our environment, protecting polluters and their dirty energy agenda, and threatening our national and global security.”
Trump campaigned on a promise to withdraw the U.S. from the accord, saying the deal would lead to higher energy prices and hurt domestic businesses from being able to compete globally.
The international agreement, which went into effect seven months ago, is considered a major part the environmental legacy of the Obama administration.
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