Former Trump Official Picks A Weird Time To Predict Trump Will Return To Paris Deal

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A former energy official inside the Trump administration believes President Donald Trump will soon return to the Paris deal even as the agreement’s supporters continue to be pushed out of the White House.

George David Banks, a former top White House international climate aide, predicts Trump will reverse his decision to abandon the non-binding climate accord. There’s one big problem, though: Trump keeps dinging all aides likely to persuade him to stay with the Obama-era deal.

“I think it will be fairly easy for the president to agree that we are going to stay in, we are going to change the number, and then walk out of that summit arguing that he re-negotiated the Paris agreement,” Banks said Wednesday on the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast. Trump suggested in 2017 that he might re-enter the landmark accord only if it gets renegotiated.

Study Finds Global Warming Temps Were Overestimated 

Banks’ prediction took a major hit on Feb. 14 after Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was among a handful of top Trump administration officials who supported the Paris Climate Accord, which former President Barack Obama’s administration joined in 2016.

Tillerson is the third pro-Paris official to leave the White House in the last month — National Economic Council Chair Gary Cohn and Banks himself are the other two.

Trump tapped CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace Tillerson as head of the State Department, which is good news for conservatives who pushed Trump to completely abandon Obama-era climate policies.

Pompeo opposed the Paris accord, which required the U.S. to dramatically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. He also criticized Obama for bowing “down to radical environmentalists, all the while refusing to stand up to radical Islamists.”

Banks was among a handful of voices who fought to stay in the 2015 global deal, but with a pledge that’s less aggressive than Obama’s vow to cut U.S greenhouse emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, a target Banks calls unrealistic and economically harmful.

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