Washington/Marrakesh (Morocco): US president-elect Donald Trump is seeking quick ways of withdrawing from a global agreement to limit climate change, a person on his transition team who is familiar with the matter said, defying widening international backing for the plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Since the US president-elect was chosen, governments ranging from China to small island states have reaffirmed support for the 2015 Paris Agreement at 200-nation climate talks running until 18 November in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Trump, who has called global warming a hoax and has promised to quit the Paris Agreement, was considering ways to bypass a theoretical four-year procedure for leaving the accord, according to the person quoted above, who works on Trump’s transition team for international energy and climate policy.
“It was reckless for the Paris agreement to enter into force before the election” on Tuesday, the person told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Paris Agreement won enough backing for entry into force on 4 November.
Alternatives were to send a letter withdrawing from a 1992 Convention that is the parent treaty of the Paris Agreement, voiding US involvement in both in a year’s time, or to issue a presidential order simply deleting the US signature from the Paris accord, he said.
Many nations have expressed hopes that the US will stay. Host Morocco said the agreement that seeks to phase out greenhouse gases in the second half of the century was strong enough to survive a pull-out.
“If one party decides to withdraw that it doesn’t call the agreement into question,” foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar told a news conference.
The agreement was reached by almost 200 nations in December and, as of Saturday, has been formally ratified by 109 representing 76% of greenhouse gas emissions, including the US with 18%.
The accord seeks to limit rising temperatures that have been linked to increasing economic damage from desertification, extinctions of animals and plants, heat waves, floods and rising sea levels.
UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa declined to comment on the remarks of the person in Trump’s transition team, to Reuters.
“The Paris Agreement carries an enormous amount of weight and credibility,” she told a news conference. She said the UN hoped for a strong and constructive relationship with Trump.
The person blamed US President Barack Obama for joining up by an executive order, without getting approval from the Senate. “There wouldn’t be this diplomatic fallout on the broader international agenda if Obama hadn’t rushed the adoption,” he said.