U.S. President-elect Donald Trump could use legal short-cuts to pull out of a global agreement for fighting climate change within a year, keeping a campaign promise and by-passing a theoretical four-year wait, lawyers say.
Trump, who has called global warming a hoax and said it was invented by the Chinese to undermine U.S. manufacturing, has said he wants to cancel the 2015 Paris Agreement among almost 200 nations that entered into force on Nov. 4.
The accord, which seeks to phase out greenhouse gas emissions this century with a shift from fossil fuels, says in its Article 28 that any country wanting to pull out after joining up has to wait four years.
In theory, the earliest date for withdrawal is Nov. 4, 2020, around the time of the next U.S. presidential election.
But Trump could pull out of the parent treaty of the Paris Agreement, the 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change with just a year’s notice, also voiding U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement, U.N. legal experts say.
That would be controversial, partly because the Convention was signed by former Republican president George Bush in 1992 and approved by the U.S. Senate. It would also severely strain relations with many foreign nations.
Meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, for two weeks of talks to work out ways to implement pledges for action in the Paris Agreement, many countries have reaffirmed support for the 195-nation accord since Trump’s election victory on Tuesday.