“Ludicrous… stunningly misguided… wrongheaded”.
Two months since leaving his role as US climate envoy, Todd Stern has come out gunning for Donald Trump’s plans to ditch the Paris climate agreement if he wins the White House.
“The United States has no power to cancel it. This isn’t reality TV,” he writes in an unusually blunt Washington Post column.
“You can’t tell sovereign leaders around the world ‘you’re fired,’ and you can’t tell them a multilateral agreement they just entered is canceled.”
— Laurence Tubiana (@LaurenceTubiana) May 28, 2016
Stern, who led negotiations for the US at global climate talks from 2009-2016, contests as “ludicrous” Trump’s assertion in a speech last week that the Paris climate deal hands US energy policy to foreign officials.
And the veteran official – who served as Bill Clinton’s White House staff secretary in the 1990s – warns of the diplomatic and environmental blowback the US would face if it tried to tinker with a deal agreed by 195 countries last December.
“If a President Trump were to stick to his wrongheaded notion that climate change is a hoax, and unilaterally withdraw from the Paris Agreement, he would also inflict severe diplomatic damage on the United States,” he writes.
“U.S. standing in the world would plummet amid almost universal condemnation. Trump could pound his chest to his heart’s content, but he’d come out of this rash exercise a loser, with U.S. credibility and leverage in tatters.”
He adds: “It’s time to take Trump seriously. He is effectively the Republican candidate for president. Don’t make excuses for his words or assume he doesn’t mean them. We’re playing for keeps now.”