Former U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern said Donald Trump couldn’t cancel the international climate agreement “even if he were foolish enough to try.”
Stern’s comments come less than a week after Trump said he would rescind the Climate Action Plan and cancel the Paris climate agreement, all in his first 100 days of office.
“Leaders of more than 190 nations endorsed the agreement,” Stern wrote in an op-ed published Tuesday in the Washington Post. “The United States has no power to cancel it. This isn’t reality TV. You can’t tell sovereign leaders around the world ‘you’re fired,’ and you can’t tell them a multilateral agreement they just entered is canceled.”
While Stern said Trump could technically pull the U.S. out of the agreement, given the reality of climate change the decision would be problematic. Additionally, the move could hurt U.S. relations with the global community.
“Climate change is happening now, intensively, all over the world,” Stern wrote. “It’s getting worse. We can’t hope to contain it without joint global action. The Paris Agreement is our vehicle for doing that. Trump would have us walk away? Really? Further, if a President Trump were to stick to his wrongheaded notion that climate change is a hoax, and unilaterally withdraw from the Paris Agreement, he would also inflict severe diplomatic damage on the United States.”
“It’s time to take Trump seriously. He is effectively the Republican candidate for president. Don’t make excuses for his words or assume he doesn’t mean them. We’re playing for keeps now,” Stern wrote.