White House: We still plan to exit Paris accord, ruin climate for everyone else.

Media reports to contrary came from people confused by Trump officials' explanation for the withdrawal

CREDIT: Screenshot of ABC's "This Week," Sunday, September 17.
CREDIT: Screenshot of ABC's "This Week," Sunday, September 17.

The Wall Street Journal set off a tempest Saturday when it reported, “Trump administration officials said Saturday the U.S. wouldn’t pull out of the Paris Agreement, offering to re-engage in the international deal to fight climate change.”

The Journal cited “multiple officials at a global warming summit” in Montreal where ministers from leading countries were reviewing the landmark climate accord. But it turns out those officials were just confused by a White House advisor at the summit who had simply repeated Trump’s nonsensical position that we were withdrawing from Paris unless we get better terms.

That’s nonsensical because although the December 2015 Paris Accord was agreed to unanimously by 190+ nations, each country’s actual emissions reduction pledge is completely voluntary. In other words, Trump always had the right under the agreement to change and even weaken the U.S. pledge.

And so when White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stomped on the Journal story via twitter, she predictably repeated “US withdrawing unless we get pro-America terms.”

And Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week,” National security adviser H.R. McMaster, repeated that the Journal story was “a false report. But the President “left the door open to reentering at some later time,” McMasters added, “if there’s an agreement that benefits the American people.”

The reality is that the Paris agreement already benefits the American people tremendously, and abandoning it is unequivocally bad for the country. On the one hand, keeping the U.S. pledge would lead the U.S. to more investment in clean energy, which is the one new sector capable of actually creating millions of high wage American jobs

On the other hand, a leaked draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies revealed last week that if we don’t work with the rest of the world to make much deeper emissions reduction over time, we face a ruined America with sea levels rising a foot a decade and widespread Dust-Bowlification.

Significantly, the independent analytical team at Climate Action Tracker has pointed out that “the U.S. climate plans are at the least ambitious end of what would be a fair contribution.”

Bottom Line: In the global deal to save a livable climate, America had committed to do the least we could possibly do, and Trump won’t even do that. Trump is content with America the villain — the greedy and myopic rogue nation that killed humanity’s best hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change.