Obama climate envoy warns against pulling out of Paris deal

Obama climate envoy warns against pulling out of Paris deal
© Getty Images

There will be “diplomatic consequences” if the next president pulls the United States out of the Paris climate deal, President Obama’s top climate negotiator said on Thursday.

Speaking in London, Todd Stern compared that prospect to when former President George W. Bush pulled the U.S. out of the Kyoto Protocol, a Clinton-era climate deal designed to slice emissions around the world.

“There was a lot of blowback that the U.S. got, generally, diplomatically across the range of diplomatic concerns, and I have no doubt that it would be very significant if the U.S. were to do that with regard to Paris, probably much, much more significant than what happened before,” Stern said, according to BBC News.

"There is a record there that you can look at to have a pretty good sense that there would be diplomatic consequences,” he said.

Several Republican presidential candidates have ridiculed the Paris deal, which commits the United States to a 26–28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. The Obama administration supports that goal, and the president was a key player in securing the deal last December.

The agreement asks nearly 200 countries to limit carbon emissions to a level that they individually determined would be possible. The emissions targets are not binding.

Stern is traveling in Europe this week to reassure officials there that the U.S. will follow through on its climate commitments. That includes calming allies’ concerns about the Clean Power Plan, the major carbon regulation for power plants that the Supreme Court temporarily halted last week.

Stern said he’s confident the plan will move forward once the court considers it on its merits.

"We anticipate that the Clean Power Plan will be upheld," he said. “But if for whatever reason it is not, then we will have to use other means to get to our target, but we are not backing off our target."