Saturday, May 27, 2017

Inside the White House War over the Paris Climate Treaty

Reject or revise?  Two factions within the Trump administration are battling it out, with Obama's Clean Power Plan at the heart of the debate.

Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner have been on opposing sides of an internal White House war over the Paris climate treaty. In this analysis, we look at the factions and what rejecting or revising the Paris commitments might mean. (Credit: Pool/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
Like Jean Valjean in the sewers, the White House is racing to elude the authorities of Paris, the city that gave its name to the binding 2015 treaty enlisting all nations to address the world's climate change crisis.

Put simply, President Donald Trump faces a choice between two routes—one marked rejection, the other revision—as he seeks to fulfill his campaign pledge to "cancel" the treaty.

That he has this choice stems from two competing impulses that shaped the text of the Paris climate agreement as nations sought to make it both effective and flexible.

The delicate balance they struck was to make the document binding but not compulsory, ambitious but not rigid.  Now, that compromise is being manipulated by two factions, the rejectionists and the revisionists, inside the White House.

Does the agreement attach Houdini-proof manacles on countries?  Leave.  Or is it essentially voluntary, inviting all but entrapping none?  Stay.

How Trump views it may help him decide whether he needs what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson dubbed "a seat at the table'' in order to satisfy the president's America-first instincts.

Here are questions and answers about the unfolding debate, based on interviews with insiders and well-informed outsiders.

Read more at Inside the White House War over the Paris Climate Treaty

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