Trump to announce decision on global climate deal on Thursday

WASHINGTON, May 31 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said he would announce on Thursday his decision whether to keep the United States in a global pact to fight climate change, as a source close to the matter said he was preparing to pull out of the Paris accord.

Trump said he would make the announcement at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) in the White House Rose Garden, ending his tweet with "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump blasted the accord, and called global warming a hoax aimed at weakening U.S. industry.

The Republican vowed at the time to "cancel" the Paris deal within 100 days of becoming president on Jan. 20, part of an effort to bolster U.S. oil and coal industries.

A U.S. withdrawal could deepen a rift with U.S. allies. The United States would join Syria and Nicaragua as the world's only non-participants in the landmark 195-nation accord agreed upon in Paris in 2015.

Trump came under pressure on Wednesday from corporate CEOs, U.S. allies, Democrats and some fellow Republicans to keep the United States in the accord.

RELATED: Photos of Trump at the G7 summit

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President Donald Trump attends the G7 summit
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President Donald Trump attends the G7 summit
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One at Sigonella Air Force Base at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One at Sigonella Air Force Base at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump (C) is greeted by Italy's Chief of Protocol Riccardo Guariglia (L) as he arrives aboard Air Force One at Sigonella Air Force Base at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
US President Donald Trump arrives for the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7, the group of most industrialized economies, plus the European Union, on May 26, 2017 at the ancient Greek Theater in Taormina, Sicily. The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the US and Italy will be joined by representatives of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia during the summit from May 26 to 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Miguel MEDINA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and U.S. President Donald Trump talk as he arrives at the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
From R-L, U.S. President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Britain?s Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Council President Donald Tusk arrive for a family photo during the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
From L-R, European Council President Donald Tusk, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Britain?s Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pose for a family photo during the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
From L-R, European Council President Donald Tusk, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe react during a family photo during the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) waves beside U.S. President Donald Trump during a bilateral meeting at the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
From L-R, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, U.S. President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Britain?s Prime Minister Theresa May gather as they attend the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump walks during the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
(L-R) The President of the European Council Donald Tusk, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, U.S. President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni pose after watching an Italian flying squadron as part of the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Stephane De Sakutin/Pool
G7 Summit members, President of the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (L), U.S. President Donald Trump (L Rear), Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R Rear) and President of the European Council Donald Tusk (R) attend the first working session in Taormina in Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Eliot Blondet/Pool
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Responding to shouted questions earlier on Wednesday from reporters in the White House Oval Office where he met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Trump said: "I'm hearing from a lot of people, both ways."

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump was working out terms of the planned withdrawal with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, an oil industry ally and climate change doubter.

The pact was the first legally binding global deal to fight climate change. Virtually every nation voluntarily committed to steps aimed at curbing global emissions of "greenhouse" gases. These include carbon dioxide generated from burning of fossil fuels that scientists blame for a warming planet, sea level rise, droughts and more frequent violent storms.

The United States committed to reduce its emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.

Advocates of the climate deal pressured Trump, who has changed his mind on large decisions before even after signaling a move in the opposite direction.

The chief executives of dozens of companies have made last-minute appeals to Trump. The CEOs of ExxonMobil Corp , Apple Inc, Dow Chemical Co, Unilever NV and Tesla Inc were among those urging him to remain in the agreement. Tesla's Elon Musk threatened to quit White House advisory councils if the president pulls out.

Musk said: "I've done all I can to advise directly" to Trump and through others in the White House.

Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corp, an Ohio-based coal company and major Trump campaign donor, urged Trump to withdraw from the deal. But on Wednesday, U.S. coal company shares fell alongside renewable energy stocks following reports that Trump would pull out.

Pulling the United States from the accord could further alienate American allies in Europe already wary of Trump and call into question U.S. leadership and trustworthiness on one of the world's leading issues. It also would be one more step by the Republican president to erase the legacy of his predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama, who helped broker the accord and praised it during a trip to Europe this month.

BROAD IMPLICATIONS

A U.S. pullout could have sweeping implications. The deal relies heavily on reductions in emissions by big polluter nations, and the United States is the world's second-biggest carbon dioxide emitter behind China.

At a conference near Los Angeles, Democrat Hillary Clinton, who Trump defeated in the 2016 presidential election, said withdrawing would be a mistake. "Part of what keeps us going is that America's word is good, and that you stand with your prior administration whether it was of your party or not," she said.

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee who Trump considered for secretary of state, said on Twitter that affirmation of the Paris agreement "is not only about the climate: It is also about America remaining the global leader."

Democratic U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Jack Reed wrote a letter urging Trump not to withdraw. They said withdrawal would undermine U.S. credibility and its position as a global leader, empowering nations like China to drive the climate agenda and set international standards while also reaping economic benefits from a growing clean energy sector.

U.S. allies rallied behind the Paris accord on Wednesday.

In Berlin, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stressed withdrawal would take years, saying: "The Americans can't just leave the climate protection agreement. Mr. Trump believes that because he doesn't know the details."

China and the European Union will seek on Friday to buttress the agreement. In a statement backed by all 28 EU states, the European Union and China will commit to full implementation of the accord, EU and Chinese officials said.

Trump has said the accord would cost the U.S. economy trillions of dollars without tangible benefit. For the president, a withdrawal would reflect his "America First" approach to policy, unencumbered by international obligations.

Trump refused to endorse the accord at a summit of the G7 group of wealthy nations on Saturday in Italy, saying he needed more time to decide.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton, David Alexander, Doina Chiacu, Chris Kahn, Richard Valdmanis, Timothy Gardner, David Ingram and Rodrigo Campos; Writing by Doina Chiacu, Will Dunham and Peter Cooney; Editing by Cynthia Osterman, Peter Cooney and Lisa Shumaker)

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