WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday is expected to affirm plans to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, a source said, less than two weeks before he can officially start the process.
Trump is slated to speak at 3:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) at the Shale Insight conference in Pittsburgh and is expected to tout surging U.S. natural gas and crude oil production, his efforts to roll back regulations on energy industries and pulling the United States out of the 2015 international climate agreement.
Trump, a longtime opponent of the Paris agreement, vowed in the 2016 presidential election campaign that he would “cancel” it.
“He is going to mention Paris,” a source who read the speech said on the condition of anonymity. “It will be the same points brought up in the past. As far as (Trump) is concerned, he has withdrawn already.”
Trump often boasts at rallies and speeches that he has already pulled the country out of the pact. But the first day he can officially start the process has not yet arrived. According to the terms of the agreement, Trump can submit a letter on Nov. 4 to the United Nations to start the one-year clock to withdraw the United States formally from global climate pact.
Withdrawing takes one year, which would mean the United States would leave the agreement one day after the 2020 presidential election.
Although Trump initially said he may seek to renegotiate the terms of the Paris agreement to make it more favourable to the United States, submitting the letter closes the door to that possibility. Trump has often said the deal was costly for the United States, the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on what Trump would say about the agreement.
Andrew Light, a former State Department official during the Obama administration that helped broker the Paris agreement, said the formal withdrawal will make it difficult for U.S. diplomats who participate in other discussions like the G7.
“It will take some time to recover from this train wreck of U.S. diplomacy,” said Light, currently a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner, Valerie Volcovici and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)