President Trump is not going back on his decision to exit the Paris climate change accord one year after deciding to exit from the deal, the White House said in a statement.
"One year later, there has been no change in the U.S. position,” White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters said in an email to the Washington Examiner on Thursday.
Friday is the one-year anniversary of Trump's June 1 Rose Garden speech last year announcing the U.S.'s exit from the agreement.
“The Trump Administration, after conducting an interagency policy process, concluded that withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord was the best decision for the United States and for the American people," Walters continued.
Trump still has to wait two years before he can formally withdraw from the agreement under the United Nations bylaws governing the agreement. The date of the exit is Nov. 4, 2020, one day after the next U.S. presidential election. Many believe Trump has carved out a way to rejoin the agreement as a campaign victory in 2020, but its unclear what will happen at this point.
[Related: States committed to climate deal one year after Trump exit]
The president hasn't said much recently on his decision except to say the agreement was a bad move for the country.
Todd Stern, top climate negotiator under former President Barack Obama, said Trump's decision has been "really damaging" to the Paris agreement, despite an alliance to hold to the goals of the deal through an agreement between 16 states and Puerto Rico.
Stern said, in addressing a Wednesday forum on the one-year anniversary, for Paris supporters not to "underestimate the negative side” of the U.S. decision to leave the agreement.
A U.N. meeting in Poland later this year, meant to implement provisions of the Paris climate accord, will face challenges in the absence of U.S. leadership, Stern said. Countries that believe they "extended themselves" in agreeing to the Paris deal are now trying to “pull back a bit” on their commitments, he said.
The White House would not say if the president will be doing anything special to mark the one-year anniversary of the decision, but environmentalists and climate activists groups are planning to make known their disappointment in the president.
The anti-fossil fuel group 350.org said Trump's decision has caused a groundswell of activity among individuals, states and local governments in meeting the goals of the non-binding Paris accord.
“A year ago we said we would harness public outrage at Trump’s decision into meaningful on-the-ground action, and that’s what we have done," said 350.org Executive Director May Boeve. "Every day we see new groups forming up and achieving big wins against fossil fuel projects and investments."
Boeve said to expect "a groundswell of local actions between now and the end of the year, with people rising for climate everywhere.”
The U.S. Climate Alliance, representing 16 states and Puerto Rico, pledged to re-up its efforts on meeting the climate agreement on Thursday.
"The U.S. Climate Alliance now represents 40 percent of the U.S. population and a $9 trillion economy, greater than the third-largest country in the world, and U.S. Climate Alliance states are on track to meet their share of the Paris Agreement emissions target by 2025," the states reported.
"While elected officials abroad are sticking to their Paris Climate Agreement commitments, Trump has shown time and again that he cannot be trusted to ensure a safer, healthier, more sustainable future for all," said Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard. “That’s why Greenpeace USA is calling on California Governor Jerry Brown to fill that vacuum."
Brown is a co-chair of the climate alliance, who will be convening a major global climate summit in September where global leaders are expected to mull solutions to global warming. Greepeace wants Brown to announce his commitment to phasing out fossil fuels.
“Governor Brown can demonstrate real climate leadership by committing to gradually phasing out fossil fuel development and new infrastructure in California," Leonard said. "Continued reliance on fossil fuels will only undermine the benefits of truly clean energy solutions like wind and solar power, which we need to deploy in order to combat pollution and climate change. That is real climate leadership and we are urging Governor Brown to make this commitment and use his summit to set a precedent for others to follow."
Leonard said the world "will not wait for U.S. leadership" on this front, "but the U.S. needs climate leadership nonetheless."
September will be the time to enact "transformational change," Leonard continued. "Trump apparently didn’t get the memo, so now we’re making sure that Governor Brown does.”