Climate envoy strikes hopeful tone on Trump

Climate envoy strikes hopeful tone on Trump
© Getty Images

President Obama’s top diplomat for climate change said Monday that he doesn’t know what President-elect 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 has in store regarding the Paris climate agreement.

Jonathan Pershing, the State Department’s special envoy for climate change, repeatedly declined to speculate at a news conference in Marrakech, Morocco, when pressed by reporters.


“I cannot speak for the president-elect’s team or to their outlook on international climate policy,” Pershing said when asked what the international community should expect from Trump on climate.

“We are not yet in touch with the transition team. As I noted, they have not yet been named for our agency. We’re waiting to talk with them. I anticipate that will happen soon after I return to Washington,” he continued.

“We will certainly work to convey the importance that we find in this issue to them as they move forward.”

Trump pledged during his campaign to “cancel” the Paris agreement, and an official in his transition team told Reuters Saturday that they are exploring options for a quick exit from the climate pact, faster than the four-year wait in the agreement itself.

Trump has repeatedly called climate change a hoax.

The president-elect’s rhetoric and plans have been on the top of the minds of numerous diplomats in Marrakech, where representatives are started the second week of an annual United Nations climate conference. The goal in this conference is to start plans for implementing the Paris pact.

The agreement’s greenhouse gas cuts are not binding, though President Obama has said the United States would reduce its emissions 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025.

Pershing, who is a political appointee and is due to leave the federal government with Obama Jan. 20, nonetheless struck a hopeful tone about Trump on climate.

“The new administration may look at the commitment globally, at the interest globally in the issue, and decide how it can move forward in ways that are consistent with its own policies,” he said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Pershing said representatives from major nations like China and Brazil told him they expect to abide by the Paris pact whether or not Trump pulls out.