President Trump hears from Pope Francis, senators regarding Paris agreement

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President Donald Trump meets with Pope Francis at the vatican on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

WASHINGTON — It remains to be seen what action the president will take in regards to the Paris agreement.

In 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal to limit the increase in the global average temperature. The agreement specifically asks countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pursue innovative technology to help prevent climate change.

Following his election in 2016, there was much talk about what President Trump would do about the agreement.

After a highly anticipated meeting this week, Pope Francis held a private meeting with President Donald Trump to discuss climate change and peace.

“Thank you. I won’t forget what you said,” Trump told Pope Francis, before leaving the Pope’s private study after a half-hour private meeting.

Neither Trump nor the Pope revealed what their conversation entailed, but readouts from the White House and the Vatican highlighted terrorism, climate change and peace as agenda items covered.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, briefing reporters on Air Force One after the meeting, said terrorism and climate change came up. He said the Vatican’s secretary of state raised climate change and encouraged Trump to remain in the Paris agreement.

Tillerson said the President “hasn’t made a final decision,” and likely will not until “after we get home.”

However, it seems that a group of senators are hoping the president will withdraw from the agreement.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, from Oklahoma, is a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He and several other Republican senators signed a letter that calls for the United States to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

“It is clear that those advocating for greenhouse gas regulations will use the Paris Agreement as a legal defense against your actions to rescind the Clean Power Plan if you decide to remain in the Paris Agreement. This is why it is so important for you to make a clean exit from the Agreement,” the letter stated.

“We understand that some officials inside your administration want to remain in the Paris Agreement to keep a seat at the table so that the U.S. continues to have a voice in future discussions. Fortunately, a clean exit from the Paris Agreement will not take this away. The Senate gave its consent to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992; this treaty provides a permanent seat at the table for the United States to engage with other countries each year at the Conferences of Parties (COP). In fact, it was through an annual COP meeting in Paris that the Paris Agreement was signed,” the letter continued.


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