Environmentalist groups are freaking out that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Wednesday he would renegotiate the terms of the Paris climate summit agreement.
“I will be looking at that very, very seriously, and at a minimum I will be renegotiating those agreements, at a minimum. And at a maximum I may do something else,” the former reality TV star turned presidential candidate said during an interview with Reuters.
He continued: “But those agreements are one-sided agreements and they are bad for the United States.”
He believes most of the heavy lifting in the agreement would be heaped on the collective backs of American taxpayers. Trump believes China, which is the world’s largest emitter of carbon emissions, will not hold up its end of the agreement.
The climate summit agreement, forged in December and later signed by nearly 200 countries in April, aims to ratchet down global temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius through an assortment of complicated national pledges to cut emissions. The agreement will also require developed countries to help fund the efforts of underdeveloped and developing countries.
U.S. officials, for their part, promised at the summit to cut carbon emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025. China has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 2030.
Environmentalists from across the divide reacted in horror at Trump’s comments.
“This is another example of Trump’s dangerous lack of judgment and the very real impacts it could have for all of us,” Gene Karpinski, the president of the League of Conservation Voters, told reporters.
He added: “Trump now not only denies the science of climate change, but also the politics and economics of it. America’s leadership in Paris has put the world on the path to a clean energy future that will create jobs and save lives both in the U.S. and around the world.”
Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, whose political action committee announced in April a $25 million campaign to push young people into supporting and voting for green energy candidates, claimed the Republican presidential candidate’s comments are “short sighted” and “costly for America and our ability to lead the world.”
Steyer added: “We cannot go backwards on this important step towards a clean energy economy that benefits all our families.”
Sierra Club struck a similar note.
“This is simply more proof that Trump’s international antics would isolate the United States around the world and only ‘negotiate’ away American leadership,” the group’s political director Khalid Pitts said. “Meanwhile, we can only wonder how a climate science denier is supposed to renegotiate an international climate agreement.”
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