Climate Envoy: Trump Clueless On Environmental Pact

| by Nik Bonopartis
Pollution from a factory in China along the Yangzte RiverPollution from a factory in China along the Yangzte River

Trump's assertions about the Paris climate change agreement are "ludicrous," according to the U.S. special envoy who led negotiations on the pact.

The Paris Agreement is a U.N.-facilitated treaty that was signed by the leaders of 195 countries in April. It's aimed at halting increases in global temperature, limiting damage to the environment without decreasing food production, and developing ways to conduct business in an eco-friendly way without crippling financial systems.

Trump has said flatly that he'll "cancel the Paris climate agreement" if elected president, and said the pact “gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use right here in America," according to The Washington Post.

"The  bit about 'foreign bureaucrats' controlling our energy use is ludicrous," former U.N. Special Envoy Todd Stern wrote. "Under the Paris Agreement, no foreigner, from bureaucrat to king, gains an iota of control over U.S. decisions about how much energy we use or, indeed, what our overall energy or climate policy is."

Instead, Stern wrote, each country is tasked with coming up with its own plan to reduce greenhouse gases. The U.S., he said, advocated for local control so that leaders of one nation cannot dictate what another country must do.

Stern also argues that the Paris Agreement should be favored by critics who have argued that countries like China and Russia traditionally ignore climate accords. The pact, he said, includes transparency measures that will force all involved countries to submit data.

China is the world's biggest carbon polluter, followed by the U.S., according to the Guardian, which reported that the two countries combined are responsible for 40 percent of the world's carbon emisssions.

China in particular has suffered a large-scale environmental crisis, with pollution in some Chinese cities lowering average lifespans and contributing to an estimated 1.2 million premature deaths annually, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

In April, China's commitment to reducing pollution was praised by Brian Deese, special adviser on climate change to President Barack Obama. He said Chinese leaders and the U.S. had already agreed to pollution reduction measures before the treaty was signed.

“The two largest economies and two largest emitters are saying we are not going to wait," Deese said, per the Guardian, "not just sign on the first day, but join much more quickly than has been historical practice."

Sources: Washington Post, Council on Foreign Relations, The Guardian / Photo credit: High Contrast/Wikimedia Commons

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