In case you weren’t already terrified of the prospect of Donald Trump winning the election, a new Reuters interview revealed yet another reason for concern: Trump has made it clear he has no qualms about potentially sabotaging last December’s historic climate deal. In the interview, he stated, “I will be looking at that very, very seriously, and at a minimum I will be renegotiating those agreements, at a minimum. And at a maximum I may do something else.” The deal is the first time in nearly twenty years that the world’s nations have been able to agree on a unified plan to combat climate change. Needless to say, the US pulling out or altering their commitments after the deal has been made could spell disaster.
Trump’s reasons for potentially pulling out of the deal are simple — he claims he doesn’t trust other nations, particularly China, to hold up their end of the agreement. This claim is especially bizarre given China’s recent commitment to shutting down its coal-fired power plants, drastically increasing its renewables market, and expanding its nature conservation efforts. Of course, perhaps this is exactly what we should expect from a man who once tweeted that the concept of climate change is a Chinese hoax invented “to make US manufacturing non-competitive.”
While Trump has promised to do his best to undo the most significant progress we’ve made to combat global warming, chances are he’ll face an uphill battle. As the Washington Post points out, it’s possible the agreement will be completely ratified before the next president can even take office, in which case Trump would be forced to comply with the agreement for the next four years.
In fact, the agreement was drafted specifically with this type of scenario in mind, and designed to endure the changing of political administrations in member countries. An unnamed state official interviewed by the Guardian agreed with this assessment, and also added that even if Trump were to pull out of the Paris deal, US businesses are already well on the path to a lower-carbon economy and the US would still meet its carbon goals. However, even if his threats aren’t likely to be carried out, they’re important to keep in mind in the run-up to the election.
Images via Gage Skidmore