Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) shakes hands with US President Barack Obama and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during a joint ratification of the Paris climate change agreement. Photo: Reuters, How Hwee Young

President Trump has finally made up his mind to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement, after declining to affirm US commitment to the agreement last week in Europe, reports Axios on Wednesday morning, citing two sources with knowledge of the decision.

A small team including Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt are examining options for exiting the deal, which could take as long as three years.

Should the Trump administration follow through on the reported decision, the US would join Syria and Nicaragua, the other two countries that are not either signatories or parties to the agreement.

The move opens another door for Xi Jinping, who has benefited on the global stage from the US’ withdraw from another important multilateral commitment, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Beijing’s continued commitment to the Paris climate accord allows China to align itself with the European Union on one of the bloc’s biggest priorities, the environment, while at the same time help shape international standards, free of influence from the US.

Trump’s reported decision also confirms the president is not beholden to any one faction of voices in the White House. Economic advisor Gary Cohn, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, have all reportedly gained influence over the past several months and oppose pulling out of the Paris accord.

But the so-called “hardliners,” including Steve Bannon and EPA head Scott Pruitt, seem to have won the day on this issue.

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