Climate change and a change of heart What's Your Point? May 31,2017

-  What's Your Point?  May 31,2017  Part 2

Today's panelists: Jared Woodfill, Conservative Republicans of Texas; Adrian Garcia, former Harris County Sheriff; Tomaro Bell, neighborhood leader; Marcus Davis, radio host of "Sunday Morning Live"; Jessica Colon, Republican strategist, Steve Toth, former state representative., join Greg Groogan.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is expected to withdraw the United States from a landmark global climate agreement, a White House official said Wednesday, though Trump and aides were looking for "caveats in the language" related to the exit and had not made a final decision.

"I'm hearing from a lot of people both ways," Trump told reporters as he welcomed Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to the White House. He said he'd be announcing his decision "very soon."

Leaving the deal would fulfill a central campaign pledge but would anger international allies who spent years in difficult negotiations that produced an accord to reduce carbon emissions.

Trump faced considerable pressure to hold to the deal during visits with European leaders and Pope Francis on his recent trip abroad. The president and his aides were finalizing the details of a pullout, an official said, insisting on anonymity to discuss the decision before an official announcement.

While Trump currently favors an exit, he has been known to change his thinking on major decisions and tends to seek counsel from a range of inside and outside advisers, many with differing agendas, until the last minute.

A second White House official, who was not authorized to discuss private conversations and also insisted on anonymity, said Trump had not made a final decision on how to proceed.

Trump's top aides have been divided.

He was to meet later Wednesday with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has favored remaining in the agreement. Chief strategist Steve Bannon supports an exit, as does Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt. Senior adviser Jared Kushner generally thinks the deal is bad but would like to find a way to see if U.S. emissions targets can be changed.

Trump's influential daughter Ivanka Trump's preference is to stay, but she made it a priority to establish a review process so her father heard from all sides, said one of the officials.

Nearly 200 nations, including the United States under President Barack Obama's administration, agreed in 2015 to voluntarily reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to combat climate change. Withdrawing would leave the United States aligned only with Russia among the world's industrialized economies.

A senior European Union official said the EU and China would reaffirm their commitment to the pact regardless of what Trump did, and would spell out, during talks Friday in Brussels, how they would meet their obligations. The official, who is involved in preparing the meeting between EU officials and China's premier, was not authorized to speak publicly and discussed the matter on condition of anonymity because the meeting statement was not finalized.

News of Trump's expected decision drew swift reaction from the United Nations. The organization's main Twitter page quoted Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as saying, "Climate change is undeniable. Climate change is unstoppable. Climate solutions provide opportunities that are unmatchable."

The Sierra Club's executive director, Michael Brune, called the expected move a "historic mistake which our grandchildren will look back on with stunned dismay at how a world leader could be so divorced from reality and morality."

The House Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, referred to it as "a stunning abdication of American leadership and a grave threat to our planet's future."

Trump claimed before taking office that climate change was a "hoax" created by the Chinese to hurt the U.S. economy, an assertion that stands in defiance of broad scientific consensus.

But Trump's chief White House economic adviser, Gary Cohn, told reporters during the trip abroad that Trump's views on climate change were "evolving" following the president's discussions with European leaders.

Still, he said that the carbon levels agreed to by the prior administration "would be highly crippling to the U.S. economic growth," and said that, if the president had to choose between limiting carbon and economic growth, "growing our economy is going to win." Supporters of the deal say it's not an either-or choice.

Word of Trump's expected decision came a day after the president met with Pruitt. Like his boss, the EPA head has questioned the consensus of climate scientists that the Earth is warming and that man-made emissions are to blame.

Once in power, Trump and Pruitt have moved to delay or roll back federal regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions while pledging to revive long-struggling U.S. coal mines.

What is not yet clear is whether Trump plans to initiate a formal withdrawal from the Paris accord, which under the terms of the agreement could take three years, or exit the underlying U.N. climate change treaty on which the accord was based.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and 21 other Republican sent Trump a letter last week urging him to follow through on his campaign pledge to pull out of the climate accord. Most of the senators who signed are from states that depend on the continued burning of coal, oil and gas.

Hundreds of high-profile businesses have spoken out in favor of the deal, including Apple, Google and Walmart. Even fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil, BP and Shell say the United States should abide by the deal.

In Congress, 40 Democratic senators sent Trump a letter saying withdrawal would hurt America's credibility and influence on the world stage.

Scientists say that the earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming even sooner if the U.S. retreats from its pledge because America contributes so much to rising temperatures. Scientists suggest dropping out could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide a year - enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

The U.S. is the world's second-largest emitter of carbon, following only China. Beijing, however, has reaffirmed its commitment to meeting its targets under the Paris accord, recently canceling construction of about 100 coal-fired power plants and investing billions in massive wind and solar projects.

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Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Michael Biesecker in Washington, and Lorne Cook in Brussels, contributed to this report.

 

By FRAZIER MOORE
AP Television Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kathy Griffin has lost a decade-long gig ringing in the new year for CNN as a backlash builds over her video displaying a likeness of President Donald Trump's severed head.

CNN, which had called the images "disgusting and offensive" after Griffin posted the video on Tuesday, announced Wednesday it would not invite her back this year for the Times Square live New Year's Eve special she had co-hosted annually since 2007 with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

A New Mexico casino has also canceled a performance by Griffin, who was scheduled to perform at Route 66 Casino, operated by Laguna Pueblo, on July 22.

And a commercial endorsement deal was canceled just weeks after she landed it. Squatty Potty, a Utah-based company whose products include toilet stools and other bathroom accessories, said it was suspending an ad campaign that featured Griffin. 

"We were shocked and disappointed" by the video, said Bobby Edwards, the company's CEO. "It was deeply inappropriate and runs contrary to the core values our company stands for."
 


"I am a true supporter of free speech, but feel Kathy crossed the line," Edwards added. "I regret having to make these decisions, but have no choice."

Griffin's video made Trump seethe. Tweeting Wednesday morning, he said Griffin "should be ashamed of herself" for creating the video. "My children, especially my 11-year-old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!"

First lady Melania Trump issued a statement of her own: "As a mother, a wife, and a human being, that photo is very disturbing. When you consider some of the atrocities happening in the world today, a photo opportunity like this is simply wrong and makes you wonder about the mental health of the person who did it."

Griffin, a comic known for her abrasive style of humor, had apologized on Tuesday, conceding that the brief video, which she originally described as an "artsy-fartsy statement" mocking the commander in chief, was "too disturbing" and wasn't funny.

"I went too far," she says in her contrite follow-up video. "I sincerely apologize." 

 

 

But it was too late.

Griffin's comedy approach trades on a self-deprecating streak (she brands herself as mired on the "D List" of show biz) while she targets celebs who are higher up the food chain. And while she may never have riled a celeb of the magnitude of President Trump, the 56-year-old comic has gotten into trouble with her wisecracks.

In 2005 she was fired from her job as an E! network red-carpet  commentator after joking at the Golden Globe Awards that child actress Dakota Fanning had checked into rehab.

Two years later, while accepting an Emmy for her Bravo reality series, "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List," she declared that "a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus."

Then she held up her trophy and said, "Suck it, Jesus. THIS is my God now!"

Her appearance was during the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony, which wasn't aired live but instead was taped for later broadcast by E! Her remarks were therefore edited. But reports of what she said drew fire from many, including Catholic League President Bill Donohue, who called it a "vulgar, in-your-face brand of hate speech."

Griffin remained unrepentant.

"I have a no-apology policy," she told CBS News in 2012. "No apologies for jokes. I apologize in my real life all the time. I say ridiculous things, I make mistakes constantly. But when I'm onstage, I'm at a microphone ... it's a joke!"

She said the fallout from her Emmy stunt was "heaven" for her: "I mean, it was comedy gold."

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EDITOR'S NOTE -- Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org

 
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