EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Credit: Gage Skidmore/FLICKR

While Russia dominates the headlines, the greatest damage the Trump administration is doing to the country and the world is at the G7 summit, as Trump prepares to take the United States out of the Paris climate accords:

President Trump has privately told multiple people, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, that he plans to leave the Paris agreement on climate change, according to three sources with direct knowledge.

Publicly, Trump’s position is that he has not made up his mind and when we asked the White House about these private comments, Director of Strategic Communications Hope Hicks said, “I think his tweet was clear. He will make a decision this week.”

This comes just as leading climate scientists have once again been sounding the alarm bells about rising temperatures and directly contradicting Trump’s EPA chief Scott Pruitt. Just a few days ago the Washington Post reported on study released showing that he immense water lost from a single melting glacier in Greenland was enough to warp the Earth’s crust. The Great Barrier Reef is in deep trouble.

While Trump and the GOP continue to focus on phantom and statistically insignificant threats from undocumented immigrants and various “others,” climate change remains by far the biggest threat facing humanity.

The Paris agreement doesn’t go nearly far enough in dealing with the problem, but it’s still the strongest international agreement to curb carbon emissions on record. Improving on the accord requires keeping its fundamentals in place and then strengthening them going forward.

But, of course, instead of helping to move the world forward on renewable energy, Trump is instead pulling us backward, abandoning our international commitments and doubling down on the worst legacy fuels like coal, when even his own advisers concede it’s a foolish proposition. At a time when every developed nation needs to be investing in an Apollo program for carbon-neutral energy production, Trump is demanding that NATO countries spend more on soldiers and weapons.

The threat from Russia will pass, regardless of how quickly Trump exits stage right. But the dire consequences from climate change created by years of lost time under Trump will remain for generations.

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Follow David on Twitter @DavidOAtkins. David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.