Senator Resorts to Emoji to Get Through to Trump About Importance of Paris Climate Agreement

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump tweeted on May 30 that Russian officials are likely "laughing" at the U.S. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

President Donald Trump hasn't been very progressive on the issue of climate change. He famously tweeted in 2012 that it was hoax "created by and for the Chinese," and his actions since he was elected in November have borne out his indifference to the world's environmental crisis. In December, he tapped climate change-denier Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and, most recently, his new budget proposal includes dramatic slashes to the organization's budget.

Related: Why Trump should read the pope's letter on climate change

As Trump makes his first international trip as president, the focus has shifted to whether the U.S. will remain a part of the Paris climate change agreement. Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware wants the president to keep America in the agreement, so much so that on Wednesday he brought a poster board filled with colorful pictures onto the Senate floor in an effort to illustrate the importance of the agreement.

Sen. Tom Carper's staff wins unique floor poster of the day

— Haley Byrd (@byrdinator) May 24, 2017

Here's a closer look, provided by Carper himself.

He's out of the country but I hope he gets our message. President Trump, stand with these 195 signers and stay in the #ParisAgreement.

— Senator Tom Carper (@SenatorCarper) May 24, 2017

As you can see, the display features a mock iPhone conversation with the president in which the flag emoji of the 195 countries that have signed the agreement are contrasted with two that have not.

Trump has criticized the United States's involvement in the Paris Agreement in the past, and during his 2016 campaign even promised to "cancel" the deal. Trump said at the time that the agreement is bad for business in the U.S., and that it allowed "foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use."

The president was expected to make his decision on whether America will remain in the agreement this week in anticipation of Friday's G-7 summit in Taormina, Italy. Leaders from international powers such as Germany and China have urged the president to stay in the agreement, which was negotiated in 2015 and officially adopted that December. The agreement aims to reduce pollution in an effort to keep the global temperature within 2 degrees Celsius of what it was during the industrial revolution.

As indicated in Senator Carper's presentation, Syria and Nicaragua are the only two nations that have abstained from participating. Uzbekistan, which did not initially join, signed on in April.

The agreement was a topic of conversation Wednesday as Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, but no indication has been given as to which way the president is leaning. "The president indicated we're still thinking about that, that he hasn't made a final decision," Tillerson said. "He, I think, told both Cardinal Parolin and also told [Italian] Prime Minister Gentiloni that this is something that he would be taking up for a decision when we return from this trip."

If Trump doesn't make a decision by the G-7 summit, he is likely to experience significant pressure from its member nations to remain in the agreement, as Japan, Germany, Italy, France, Canada and the United Kingdom all support it. If the United States were to "cancel" the deal, as Trump puts it, the impact would be substantial and mark a huge setback in the international effort to curb climate change. The United States is currently the world's second-largest polluter behind China.

Earlier on Wednesday, Pope Francis presented Trump with an encyclical letter he wrote on the topic of climate change in 2015. "Well, I'll be reading them," Trump said. If he does indeed put off the decision until he is is back in the U.S., hopefully he can find time to crack the pope's letter on the long flight home.