Obama Warns Trump Against Walking Away From Paris Climate Agreement

Carolyn Kaster

In an article published in the academic journal Science on Monday, President Obama warned Donald Trump against walking away from the Paris Agreement to combat climate change.

After outlining what the paper calls a “decoupling of emissions and economic growth,” Obama turned his attention to the new administration. The President-elect has promised in the past to “cancel” the United States’ participation in the Paris Agreement, a collective agreement signed by 197 countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Were the United States to step away from Paris, it would lose its seat at the table to hold other countries to their commitments, demand transparency, and encourage ambition,” Obama wrote. “This does not mean the next Administration needs to follow identical domestic policies to my Administration’s. There are multiple paths and mechanisms by which this country can achieve—efficiently and economically—the targets we embraced in the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement itself is based on a nationally determined structure whereby each country sets and updates its own commitments.”

“Regardless of U.S. domestic policies, it would undermine our economic interests to walk away from the opportunity to hold countries representing two-thirds of global emissions—including China, India, Mexico, European Union members, and others—accountable,” the paper continues.

Obama’s publication in Science is the latest in a series of academic publications in the President’s final weeks in office.

On Thursday, Obama detailed the progress his administration had made on criminal justice reform in the Harvard Law Review. The next day, he defended the Affordable Care Act in the New England Journal of Medicine, calling efforts to repeal it without any replacement measures “reckless.”

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