President Donald Trump may be poised to dump US involvement in the Paris Agreement, but will his belief that climate change is a hoax impact the rest of the world?
His predecessor Barack Obama was a keen advocate of clean energy and working together to rescue the planet, but Trump is lining up with political minnows Syria and Nicaragua as a gang of three against 195 other nations on his stance to ignore the agreement.
The US is becoming increasingly marginalised already under Trump’s leadership.
But the reality is Trump has already alienated most of NATO and the European Union with his calls to pay up for defence.
And he has already shown scant regard for the Paris Agreement by signing an executive order to bin the Clean Power Plan back home.
The measure was aimed at reducing carbon emissions from power stations.
The law was already on the back burner pending a legal challenge from Republican state governors, but was seen as a central plank of Obama’s plans to curb emissions under the Paris Agreement. The opposition claims Obama had no power to negotiate the deal and the agreement should have gone to Congress for a vote.
The argument is Trump never meant to support the rest of the world and although pulling out of the deal will trigger protests and tension, it does not mean a lot because the decision has already been made.
Just because Trump is withdrawing, the Paris Agreement will not collapse and he is unlikely to be in office when the regulations start to take effect from 2020, unless he wins a second term in office.
Why is Trump opposed to the agreement?
It comes down to money and economics. The US is one of the world’s big polluters and converting factories and power stations to reduce emissions would cost billions of dollars.
Trump argues that money would be better spent creating jobs and boosting economic growth.
The US has a track record of ignoring climate controls.
George Bush pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and temperatures around the world soared to danger levels.
History seems about to repeat, but not for the best reasons.