President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement could deal a staggering blow to the nascent international cooperation on climate change. "It's really hard to move forward on climate without the cooperation of the United States," said Michael Wara, a professor of law at Stanford University. Perhaps most alarming, Wara said, is how Trump's decision on climate policy will affect national security. The withdrawal of the U.S. from Paris does enormous damage to our international credibility, in general, Wara said. Other issues requiring international cooperation, like corralling North Korea or coping with the Syrian crisis, are going to be harder to negotiate without trust from other nations, Wara said.
"The U.S. desperately needs that kind of trust in order to get the kind of outcomes we need internationally," he said. The withdrawal from international negotiations is becoming a pattern. The United States withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal under Trump's first executive order. Trump is also hostile to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in which members pledge military cooperation with one another. With the United States stepping back from cooperation, nations like China and Russia are freer to pursue their interests — and that is true for climate, as well.
"Withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement hands leadership in this realm and others to China," said Robert Stavins, director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program.
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