Under the terms of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, President-elect Donald Trump would not be able to withdraw from the deal for four years, despite reports from Reuters claiming he would like to remove the United States from the agreement as soon as possible.
The Paris agreement was negotiated and agreed upon by 195 countries at the 21st annual United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris last year. As of now, 193 countries has signed the treaty, which officially went into effect on November 4th. The agreement aims to “lower the impacts of climate change” and “lower greenhouse gas emissions.”
Throughout his campaign, Trump has called climate change a “hoax” perpetrated by the Chinese government and has appointed Myron Ebell, a climate change denier, to oversee the EPA’s transition. The recent reports of Trump’s desire to derail the United States’ participation in the agreement have become a source of concern for the nations that are currently gathered for the 22nd UNFCCC in Morocco.
If Trump was to pull out of the agreement, disregarding the pact’s language could cause damage the country’s relationship with the U.N. “ [The United States] signed into this set of commitments for four years. It exists within the framework of the United Nations and therefore to back out of the commitment we’ve made as a country would be to basically get out of the framework of United Nation’s commitments, which is a pretty perilous thing to do. I don’t think even a Trump presidency would do it,” WGBH news analyst and the founder of The Groundtruth Project Charlie Sennott said on Boston Public Radio Monday. “The network and the interlocking mechanisms of the commitments made to reduce these greenhouse gasses isn’t just up to one country or one national ordering of priorities by the country itself.”
The United States and China are the greatest polluters in the world. If the United States pulled out, this could also impact the commitment of other countries around the globe who have signed the agreement. The world and the international community in Morocco right now are watching with bated breath as President-elect Trump makes his first decisions regarding climate change and the environment. “Where Trump takes it is a huge question,” said Sennott.