Donald Trump will pull America out of the landmark Paris agreement on climate change. The US President’s executive order is expected within 24 hours.
Myron Ebell, a longstanding climate-change sceptic who led Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency transition team, said the President was determined to undo Barack Obama’s policies to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.
Ebell said the US would “clearly change its course on climate policy” and claimed Trump was “pretty clear that the problem or the crisis has been overblown and overstated”.
The Paris agreement aims to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human-inspired interference with the climate system.
Trump has called climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese. Asked last year about the link between humans and climate change, Trump said there was “some connectivity. Some, something. It depends on how much”.
The new Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, a former ExxonMobil chief executive, was asked about the Paris treaty during his recent Senate hearing. He said: “I think it’s 190 countries have signed on. We’re better served by being at that table than by leaving that table.”
Friends of the Earth’s Simon Rayner said pulling the US out of the treaty “would be an act of utter contempt from Donald Trump towards the international community.
“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges the whole planet faces, and one the US must play its fair share in tackling.”
Protests continued in the US and around the world today over Trump’s controversial immigration ban, with Barack Obama taking the unprecedented step of speaking out against his successor’s policy and dozens of US diplomats set to formally criticise them.
In a blasting criticism, Obama said he “fundamentally disagrees” with discrimination that targets people based on their religion and was “heartened” by protests across the US.
In the statement, Mr Obama said was pleased with those citizens who are exercising constitutional rights to assemble and “have their voices heard.” He also drew a distinction between his policies and those of Mr Trump.
“With regard to comparisons to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before, the president fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion,” it said.
A “dissent cable” has been drafted for senior State Department officials. A draft text seen by the BBC says that the ban on nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries will not make the US safer and is unAmerican.
The cable says the “kneejerk” restrictions will “sour relations” with the Muslim world and alienate countries that assist in the fight against terrorism.
It notes that most terror attacks in the US have been committed by US-born or naturalised citizens.
“The end result of this ban will not be a drop in terror attacks in the United States; rather, it will be a drop in international goodwill towards Americans and a threat towards our economy,” the cable, which may be an early draft, says.
More than 1.3 million Britons have signed a petition urging their government to call off Trump’s state visit to the UK, saying it would embarrass the Queen.
The petition is now the second-most popular on the government’s website, which was set up in July 2015. The government has made clear that it disagrees with the measures.
The European Union said it would never choose isolation and inequality over openness and social equality.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that the ban was “mean-spirited and wastes resources needed for proper counter-terrorism”.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which has 57 member states, said the restrictions would only help extremists.
Some far-right European politicians, including Czech President Milos Zeman and Dutch anti-immigration firebrand Geert Wilders, have praised the ban.
New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English criticised Trump’s ban. “We wouldn’t implement a policy like that which discriminates amongst refugees or migrants as to which country they come from – that’s not the New Zealand way.”
Asked whether he thought Trump was a bigot, English said that was for others to decide. “It’s not our job to tell them how to run their country, but we can state clearly what our view is…
Australian ministers are notable for being among the few to openly support the policy. Treasurer Scott Morrison said the “rest of the world” is catching up with his country’s harsh deterrence policies: “We are the envy of the world when it comes to strong border protection policies.”
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia will support Trump’s “strong immigration and border protection policies”.
Facts – real data, not alternative facts – show significant attacks in the US were not committed by citizens from any of the seven countries in the order. This includes:
· Fort Lauderdale airport shooting (January 2017): A US citizen
· Orlando nightclub shooting (June 2016): A US citizen with Afghan parents
· San Bernardino shooting (December 2015): A US citizen with Pakistani parents, and a Pakistani citizen
· Chattanooga shootings (July 2015): A Kuwait-born US citizen
· Charleston church shooting (June 2015): A US citizen
· Boston marathon bombing (April 2013): Two Russian citizens with Chechen ethnicity
There have been a few non-fatal attacks by individuals from two of the countries on the banned list.
Trump has been accused of cherrypicking his targets because he and his family continue to do business in some countries that have a clear history of terrorism.
He has significant commercial interests in Turkey and Azerbaijan, is developing properties in Indonesia and Dubai, and has formed companies in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. His daughter Ivanka said in 2015 the company was looking at opportunities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Saudi Arabia.
The conflict-of-interest questions could raise legal and constitutional concerns.