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Trump Could Walk Away From Decades of Climate Deals

While Trump has made it clear he plans to walk away from Paris, his precise exit strategy remains unclear. “I don’t think that’s been decided,” Myron Ebell, the head of Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency transition team, said in an interview. “Your guess is as good as mine.”

Trump has at least four options. First is to exit the Paris deal, which was signed in December. Yet, the exit clause of the agreement means the U.S would still be bound by it until 2020. Trump must now wait three years to formally submit his intention to withdraw and then another year before the U.S. can exit.

There is a quicker way. Schmidt of the NRDC referred to it as “the nuclear option,” which would allow the U.S. to leave by early 2018. That would entail withdrawing from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a treaty that established the entire process.

That deal was unanimously adopted by the U.S. Senate and signed in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush. Trump could pull the U.S. out with one year’s notice, Dan Bodansky, an Arizona State University law professor who studies international environmental agreements, said in an interview.

While faster, that option would raise the diplomatic stakes.

“It will negatively impact his ability to get the co-operation of other world leaders on issues he cares about such as trade and terrorism,” said Alden Meyer, director of strategy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group in Washington. “Climate change has become a geopolitical issue of the top order.”