President-elect Donald Trump is seeking quick ways to withdraw the U.S. from the global agreement to combat climate change that was signed in Paris in 2015.
WASHINGTON/MARRAKESH, Morocco, Nov 13 (Reuters) – President-elect Donald Trump is seeking quick ways to withdraw the United States from a global accord to combat climate change, a source on his transition team said, defying broad international backing for the plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Since Trump's election victory on Tuesday, governments ranging from China to small island states have reaffirmed support for the 2015 Paris agreement during climate talks involving 200 nations set to run until Friday in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Trump has called global warming a hoax and has promised to quit the Paris Agreement, which was strongly supported by outgoing Democratic U.S. President Barack Obama.
Trump's advisers are considering ways to bypass a theoretical four-year procedure for leaving the accord, according to the source, 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 source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Paris accord won enough backing for entry into force on Nov. 4, four days before the election.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday in New Zealand that the Obama administration would do everything it could to implement the Paris accord before Trump takes office.
The accord says in its Article 28 that any country wanting to pull out after signing on has to wait four years. In theory, the earliest date for withdrawal would be Nov. 4, 2020, around the time of the next U.S. presidential election.
The source said the future Trump administration is weighing alternatives that could accelerate the pull-out: sending a letter withdrawing from the 1992 international framework accord that is the parent treaty of the Paris Agreement; voiding U.S. involvement in both in a year's time; or issuing a presidential order simply deleting the U.S. signature from the Paris accord.
Withdrawing from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) would be controversial, partly because it was signed by former Republican President George H.W. Bush in 1992 and approved by the U.S. Senate. The action also could antagonize many other countries.
The UNFCCC sets a goal of avoiding "dangerous" man-made damage to the climate to avert more heat waves, downpours, floods, extinctions of animals and plants and rising sea levels.
The 2015 Paris Agreement is much more explicit, seeking to phase out net greenhouse gas emissions by the second half of the century and limit global warming to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.
Many nations have expressed hope that the United States will stay. But the host of the current round of climate negotiations, Morocco, said the agreement that seeks to phase out greenhouse gases in the second half of the century was strong enough to survive a pullout.
One party deciding to withdraw would not 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 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, including the United States with 18 percent.
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