Trump win complicates climate deal

Trump win complicates climate deal
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Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE’s election as president is throwing the landmark United Nations climate deal into question, raising the possibility the U.S. could ignore the international accord reached in Paris last year. 

Trump has long been hostile to the climate deal, which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions around the world, saying it favors growing economies at the expense of the United States and pledging to “cancel” it as president.


The deal took effect last week, meaning, by UN rules, Trump can’t undo the agreement for at least a full term in office. But he can ignore the Obama administration’s pledge to cut emissions by up to 28 percent by 2025. 

Given the U.S. position as the world’s number two polluter, American commitment to the Paris deal is key to its success. Any opposition from Trump to the plan will raise questions about its viability going forward. 

Already, international negotiators and American environmentalists are saying they will fight to save the deal regardless of Trump. 

"What we know is that it will be extraordinarily difficult for Trump to remove the U.S. from the Paris agreement,” said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club.

“His position is already causing international blowback abroad, and in very pointed ways, that are in some respects unprecedented. If Trump does try to undermine climate action, he will run headlong into an organized mass of people who will fight him in the courts, in the states, in the Congress, in the marketplace and in the streets."

In Marrakech, Morocco, where negotiators are meeting on climate policy this week, officials were diplomatic, but said climate work needs to move forward regardless of Trump’s soon-to-be presidency. 

“Now that the election campaign has passed and the realities of leadership settle in, I expect he will realize that climate change is a threat to his people and to whole countries which share seas with the U.S., including my own," Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine told the Associated Press

Salaheddine Mezouar, the president of the climate conference, congratulated Trump in a statement, and said that “all countries, along with subnational governments and non-state actors, have the shared responsibility to continue the great progress achieved to date.

“The climate change question transcends politics and concerns the preservation of our livelihood, dignity and the only planet on which we all live," he continued. "We are convinced that all parties will respect their commitments and stay the course in this collective effort.”

Other countries have been more pointed in their critique of Trump.

Chinese officials last week, for example, twice publicly rebuked Trump for his pledge to pull the U.S. out of the pact, saying it would be against the U.S.'s own interests.

American officials at the climate conference have not discussed the Paris deal’s future under Trump, according to reports from the Morocco event. 

But his dissent from the agreement could manifest itself in many different ways. 

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), an energy adviser to Trump, said last month that the Republican might submit the Paris agreement to the Senate for ratification, where it would certainly fail. That would show the world that the United States does not endorse the pact, he argued.

Trump has routinely promoted fossil fuels on the campaign trail. Famously doubtful of the science behind climate change, Trump has said the U.S. needs to invest more in coal, oil and natural gas, sources that produce the emissions the climate deal is designed to draw down. 

Since Republicans will maintain control of Congress, they are also likely to push for spending bills that block American spending on an international climate mitigation fund that the Obama administration pledged to support. Obama spent $500 million on the fund this year despite objections from lawmakers. 

Environmental and clean energy advocates say they hope Trump doesn’t isolate the United States from international climate work. 

“We wouldn’t have the remarkable Paris deal had it not been for the U.S. leadership,” World Resources Institute President and CEO Andrew Steer said. 

“We are hoping and praying the U.S. will not relinquish this. We certainly hope that President-elect Trump recognizes that and acts accordingly.”

American activists are already gearing up to fight for lower-carbon energy under Trump.

“The clean energy revolution is inevitable,” Anna Aurilio, the D.C. director of Environment America, said of meeting American commitments under the Paris deal. 

“And so, sure, if people do their part at the state and the local level — and there are some Republicans who are starting to take another look at the issue and starting to break with their party — and we do a good job organizing, sure, we can do this.” 

—Timothy Cama contributed.