US President-elect Donald Trump has promised on more than one occasion to “cancel” the country’s participation in the historic Paris climate deal, leading many to ask, “Can he even do that?” Although ratifying nations can undo their commitment to the international climate accord, the process is not exactly simple or fast. Yet, a new report says Trump is looking for the quickest way out. An anonymous source from Trump’s climate and energy transition team told Reuters that the president-elect and his advisers are trying to find a way to bypass the typical four-year exit process called for in the terms of agreement, which activated on November 4, 2016.

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The source told Reuters last week “it was reckless for the Paris agreement to enter into force before the election.” The historic international climate deal (written December 2015) met the participation threshold on October 4 that called for the agreement to activate 30 days later, on November 4. As of this weekend, 109 of nearly 200 countries around the globe have ratified the agreement. The accord outlines measures for nations that wish to withdraw from participation, citing a four-year wait before exit procedures could begin. Since the deal just went into force this month, it means the first opportunity to withdraw would not come until November 4, 2020 according to Article 28 of the international agreement.

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Trump’s advisers, according to Reuters’ anonymous source, are considering other methods of sidestepping the US commitment to the Paris climate deal. The possible options include pulling out of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Paris deal’s parent treaty), nullifying US participation in both agreements in one year from now, or creating an executive order to delete the US signature from the Paris deal. Any of these moves would be controversial in its own right, creating conflicts with other nations and paving the way for dangerous US policies that work against environmental protections, rather than for them.

To say that climate change is a serious issue is the understatement of our lifetime; a recent United Nations report showed that global temperature increases are on track to exceed the parameters that the Paris climate deal were based on. Rather than fending off a 1.5-2C increase (over pre-industrial levels), world leaders may actually be tasked with combating a 3C increase that will wreak havoc on the globe unless drastic action is taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions. According to 2011 figures, the US is responsible for around 16 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, so the nation’s role in the Paris climate agreement is key to global survival. Yet, with a president-elect who firmly rejects the concept of climate change and has called it a Chinese “hoax,” the US may be primed to lead the charge to destroy the Earth’s environment for good.

Via The Guardian

Images via Gage Skidmore/Flickr and UNclimatechange/Flickr