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POLITICO: ‘How Trump could exit Paris — and make it stick’ – ‘Pull U.S. out of 1992 treaty that underpins the UN Paris deal’ & to re-enter it would ‘require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate’


Prominent conservatives have devised a road map to cement climate policy rollbacks under a future President Donald Trump. Chief among their targets: exiting the Paris climate agreement for good, write Robin Bravender and Sara Schonhardt.

The idea, included in a 920-page policy report, is to pull the United States out of the 1992 treaty that underpins the Paris deal, known as the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. That would be a serious step beyond what Trump did during his first term, when he exited the Paris Agreement but continued sending delegations to the annual U.N. climate talks.

While a president can unilaterally reenter the Paris deal (as President Joe Biden did), rejoining the underlying convention could require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate — a tall order.

The Paris accord, struck at the 2015 U.N. climate talks, is a voluntary agreement for countries to set targets to curb their planet-warming pollution and for wealthier nations to lead in financing those efforts. Many Republicans argue the deal hurts U.S. economic interests and demands less of other large polluters, such as China.

The broader climate framework had bipartisan support 32 years ago — a supermajority of the Democratic-controlled Senate ratified it, and Republican President George H.W. Bush signed it. But leaving it “would certainly be on the table” in a second Trump administration, said Mandy Gunasekara, who served as chief of staff in Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency.

“Let’s create a better agreement that’s focused more on tangible solutions and expanding the reach of innovative technology, instead of the current Paris climate accord and the UNFCCC,” she told Robin and Sara.

But critics say leaving the treaty could hurt U.S. standing with global partners and lead to a host of other problems beyond exacerbating climate change.

For example, it could stem the funding the U.S. traditionally provides to many of the convention’s programs, such as helping developing countries adapt to climate change.

It’s also unclear how the U.S. could negotiate a “better agreement,” in place of a framework that involves every nation on Earth.

Still, some experts say the Trump administration might cause more problems for global climate goals if it remained in the treaty where it could block action. Climate researcher Luke Kemp argued in 2017 that it might be better for the U.S. to leave.

“The risk, of course, is that if the world’s superpower withdraws from our most basic fundamental climate negotiations and treaty, it could send a very strong message to the rest of the world that climate action is no longer on the table, that we’re essentially abandoning ship,” Kemp told Robin and Sara.