US President-elect Donald Trump is considering ways to quickly withdraw from a global agreement to limit climate change, according to a source on his transition team. Trump has labeled climate change a hoax, defying widening international support for the 2015 Paris Agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The real estate developer has argued that the concept of global warming has been “created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” The president-elect is now looking at how the US can bypass a theoretical four-year procedure for pulling out of the international accord, Reuters reported on Saturday.
Since Trump’s surprise victory in Tuesday’s election, governments ranging from China to small island states have reaffirmed their support for the agreement at climate talks running until November 18 in Marrakesh, Morocco. “It was reckless for the Paris agreement to enter into force before the election,” the source, who works on Trump’s transition team, told Reuters on condition of anonymity. The Paris Agreement entered into force on November 4 and has now been formally ratified by 109 nations representing about 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Many nations have expressed hopes the US will stay, but they also believe the accord has enough backing to survive a withdrawal. “If one party decides to withdraw that it doesn’t call the agreement into question,” Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar told a news conference. The US and China, two of the world’s biggest polluters, formally joined the Paris agreement in September, with President Barack Obama describing the accord as a “turning point” to save the planet.
Despite the threat of a US withdrawal, Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that he would continue his efforts to implement the accord until Obama leaves office on January 20. “We will wait to see how the next administration addresses this but I believe we’re on the right track and this is a track that the American people are committed to,” Kerry told reporters in New Zealand.
“The majority of the American people believe that climate change is in fact happening and want to see us address it,” the top US diplomat added. Kerry also said he hoped Trump would not follow through on his campaign rhetoric regarding climate change.
“Everybody knows that there’s sometimes a divide between a campaign and the governing and I think the next administration needs to define itself on that subject,” he said. The Paris agreement seeks to halt average global warming at no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures by 2050. It also sets out a goal of reaching a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius, if possible.
The adopted text acknowledges that the risks of climate change are much more serious than previously thought. The deal is to take effect in 2020.