President Trump’s divided policy advisers will meet Tuesday afternoon to hash over whether Mr. Trump should withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris climate accord of 2015, and the side pressing the president to remain in the deal enters the pivotal meeting with the upper hand.
Mr. Trump plans to make a final decision on the fate of the Paris agreement before a meeting of the Group of 7 leading economies at the end of May, according to Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary.
On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump vowed to “cancel” the climate deal, and his most politically conservative advisers, including his senior strategist Stephen K. Bannon, have pushed him to follow through. But Mr. Bannon’s influence has waned in recent weeks, while authority has risen for Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who advocate staying in the accord.
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, the former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, has also spoken in favor of “keeping a seat at the table” in the climate pact, and in recent days, major corporations have stepped forward to embrace that position.
While no decision has been made, experts tracking it say that view is gaining traction.
“We do not currently believe the Trump administration plans to withdraw from either Paris agreement,” wrote Kevin Book, an analyst at ClearView Energy Partners, a Washington firm, in a memo to clients on Monday.
While Mr. Trump does not have the power to undo a multilateral United Nations accord, he could withdraw the world’s largest economy from the pact, weakening it substantially. Such a move would win cheers from the nation’s most powerful conservative political advocates, and give Mr. Trump bragging rights in coal country.
But withdrawing from the landmark accord that committed nearly every nation to take action against planet-warming emissions could create diplomatic blowback, while weakening American leadership in arenas far afield from energy and the environment.
Besides, keeping the United States’ name on the accord does not obligate the Trump administration to abide by the ambitious emissions-control pledges of Mr. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. At least one senior White House climate policy adviser, George David Banks, has advocated staying in the agreement while replacing the Obama plan with a weaker, more industry-friendly pledge.
Over recent weeks, Mr. Banks has asked top officials at several major corporations, including Exxon Mobil, who have similar views, to submit letters to the White House confirming their support of staying in the Paris deal, even if in a modified form.