The U.S. and all of its major allies have now ratified the Paris climate agreement, pushing it over the threshold needed for it to go into effect in 30 days — just before the U.S. presidential election.
Donald Trump has promised to “cancel” Paris if he’s elected — and that may have unintentionally sped things along.
Robert Stavins, director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, told Grist by email, “the threat of a Trump presidency has pushed countries to go forward with ratification more quickly than anyone had anticipated at the time of Paris.” For historical comparison, ratification of the Kyoto Protocol took five years.
Once the deal is underway, it would be more difficult for Trump to extract the U.S. He’d need to give three years notice and allot an additional year for withdrawal.
Still, Trump could simply decide not to deliver on the U.S.’s pledges, by, say, refusing to implement the Clean Power Plan.
Even then, Stavins argues that progress would continue to be made in energy efficiency and at the state level. “Trump could slow down action on climate change, but not as dramatically as Trump may think he could.”