Q&A With Stanford Experts On The President’s Paris Climate Agreement Decision


Publish Date:
June 1, 2017
  • Ryan, Devon
Stanford News
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After holding the world in suspense, President Donald Trump announced today that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, the accord negotiated by 195 countries in 2015 to limit and reduce global warming. Only two countries, Nicaragua and Syria, are currently not involved in the Paris agreement.

Stanford experts who have either worked directly on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) or who have specific expertise on environmental and international law offer sobering perspectives on the administration’s decision and its impact on global policy and the environment.

What is your reaction to this decision?

Michael Wara: President Trump’s decision today damages international efforts on climate and overall U.S. credibility with our most important global partners on critical issues in order to deliver on a campaign promise to his base.

Withdrawal is bad for U.S. interests, bad for U.S. firms and the people they employ, and bad for the planet. However, U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement will not spell the end of international efforts on climate – indeed, all signs point to a redoubling of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by other nations and, not incidentally, by states and communities within the United States that know from experience that the clean energy solutions to climate change create economic opportunity and good jobs for their citizens.

I remain hopeful, albeit a bit less hopeful after today’s announcement, that these cooperative efforts may still help us all to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

What does this decision mean for California’s leadership role in setting climate policy?

Wara: Today, California’s role as a national and international leader on clean energy solutions and climate is more important than it has ever been. I am hopeful that the state, along with partner jurisdictions, in response to President Trump’s actions today, will recommit to efforts on climate and will continue to demonstrate at scale how to create a more prosperous and sustainable society that does not put the planet’s and future generation’s security at risk. All signs from California leadership point to this as an opportunity to stake out a leadership role both in terms of technological innovation and climate policy.

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