NEW YORK — Republican presidential contender Donald Trump said on Tuesday in an interview with Reuters that he would renegotiate America’s role in the U.N. global climate accord, spelling potential doom for an agreement many view as a last chance to turn the tide on global warming.
A pull-out by the world’s second biggest carbon-emitting country would hobble the deal reached in Paris last December by 177 nations, who for the first time in more than two decades found a common vision for curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
I will be looking at that very, very seriously, and at a minimum I will be renegotiating those agreements, at a minimum. And at a maximum I may do something else.”
Donald Trump, presumptive Republican presidential candidate
“But those agreements are one-sided agreements and they are bad for the United States.”
Trump said he did not believe China, the world’s top emitter of the carbon dioxide gas that many scientists believe is contributing to global climate change, would adhere to its pledge under the Paris deal.
“Not a big fan because other countries don’t adhere to it, and China doesn’t adhere to it, and China’s spewing into the atmosphere,” he said.
The accord to transform the world’s fossil-fuel driven economy was a potent signal to investors.
It seeks to limit a rise in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius through combined national pledges to cut emissions, and provide funding for developing nations to mitigate the damaging effects of a sea level rise and climate change.
The Obama administration pledged a 26 to 28 percent domestic reduction in greenhouse gases by 2025 compared to 2005, while China promised it would halt increases in carbon emissions by 2030. Both countries have promised to ratify the deal this year.
Many U.S. Republicans have found fault with the deal for overreacting to what they see as an uncertain threat.
Former French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, who helped broker the deal, said this month that the U.S. election was critical to its future. “If a climate change denier was to be elected, it would threaten dramatically global action against climate disruption,” he said.
Trump has said that he believes global warming is a concept that was invented by China to hurt the competitiveness of U.S. business. One of his energy policy advisers is a climate change skeptic, U.S. Congressman Kevin Cramer of North Dakota.
Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic contender for the White House, has advocated shifting the country to 50 percent clean energy by 2030.
The Paris agreement has an article built into it meant to protect countries in the accord in the event that a new government comes in and wants to dismantle it. The clause says any nation wanting to withdraw will first have to wait four years.
U.S. chief climate envoy Jonathan Pershing said last week that regardless of the outcome of the U.S. election, other countries were likely to be bound by the pact.