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U.N. Envoy: U.S. Cannot Walk Away From Climate Accords

| by Sarah Zimmerman

The U.N. envoy for El Nino and climate change had some harsh words for President-elect Donald Trump, saying that if he truly plans to back out of the international agreement to fight global warming, the U.S. will become a "rogue country."

The Paris Agreement, signed by nearly 200 countries in December 2015, came into effect Nov. 4, four days before the U.S. presidential election. The accord commits world leaders to fighting climate change and keeping global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The agreement additionally has long-term measures to eventually phase out fossil fuel use completely, according to the Guardian.

President-elect Donald Trump, who has called global warming a hoax and won the election in part thanks to his appeal to coal miners worried about prospective unemployment, is looking for ways to bypass the U.S.'s commitment to the agreement.

"It was reckless for the Paris Agreement to enter into force before the election," said a member of Trump's transition team, according to the Guardian.

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The source, who asked to remain anonymous, said that Trump is considering withdrawing from the Paris Agreement's parent treaty from 1992 or using executive action to remove the U.S. from the list of countries involved with the accord.

The President-elect's stance on climate change and prospective departure from the Paris accords is a worrying development to U.S. special envoy and former Irish president Mary Robinson.

"It would be a tragedy for the United States and the people of the United States if the U.S. becomes a kind of rogue country, the only country in the world that is somehow not going to go ahead with the Paris Agreement," she told Reuters.

While she says that she sympathizes with America's coal industry, she says that a heavier reliance on coal would hurt the entire world in the near future.

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"The moral obligation of the United States as a big emitter, and a historically big emitter that built its whole economy on fossil fuels that are now damaging the world – it's unconscionable the United States would walk away from it," she said.

Sources: Reuters, The Guardian / Photo Credit: MONUSCO/Flickr

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