President Donald Trump will find himself almost alone in the world if he lives up to his election promise to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
In pursuit of his America First foreign policy, Mr Trump is tipped to withdraw from the agreement on Thursday (US time), distancing the US from Australia and its other key allies and disaffecting a host of high-profile corporate chiefs in the US, including the bosses of Tesla and Apple.
The decision would see the US join Nicaragua and Syria on the small list of countries refusing to back the climate accord signed in 2015 by almost 200 countries, of which 147 have since ratified it.
The news of the likely US withdrawal from the agreement came as China and Europe are reported to this week be announcing plans to accelerate their efforts to reduce global carbon emissions.
The Guardian newspaper has reported that in a statement prepared ahead of an EU-China summit in Brussels this week, China and European nations say they intend to “lead the energy transition” toward a low-carbon economy.
Several US media outlets, including the New York Times and CNN have cited senior White House officials saying that Mr Trump was expected to withdraw from the accord, while Mr Trump has so far said only that he would make a decision “very soon”.
Asked whether he has been listening to chief executives of companies and others who are attempting to influence his decision on the climate agreement, the President replied: “I’m hearing from a lot of people, both ways”.
The news of Mr Trump’s likely snub of the accord has dismayed several dozen US corporate heavy-hitters, including the boss of tech company Tesla, Elon Musk, as well as Apple chief executive Tim Cook.
The chief executives of ExxonMobil Corp, Dow Chemical Co and Unilever NV were also among the country’s big companies which made a last-minute appeal to the President to change his mind.
Mr Musk even threatened to quit White House advisory councils if the President pulled out.
“Don’t know which way Paris will go, but I’ve done all I can to advise directly to POTUS, through others in WH & via councils, that we remain,” Mr Musk tweeted on Thursday.
In an opinion piece on Mr Trump’s likely decision, CNN said if the US did bail on the Paris Agreement on climate change, “the results could be catastrophic both for this country and the planet”, describing it bluntly as a “a middle finger to the future”.
Mr Trump repeatedly vowed during his election campaign he would pull the US out of the TPP and the Paris accord. But he was still giving no hint of his decision as of Thursday morning (AEST).
“I will be announcing my decision on Paris Accord, Thursday at 3:00 P.M. The White House Rose Garden,” he tweeted.
“MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”