Before Barack Obama leaves office, he wants to ensure that the next US president is bound by the climate accord signed in Paris last December. That’s why he has formally agreed to sign the treaty with China on Earth Day this week — to show the next president that the world is watching the biggest emitters sign on.
If Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders is elected, they have committed themselves to reducing carbon emissions. But neither Donald Trump nor Ted Cruz have done so and in fact, have questioned both the Environmental Protection Agency and the science behind climate change. While the so-called COP21 accord does not go into effect until a certain number of countries that contribute a certain amount of emissions sign it, President Obama is eager to get the ball rolling.
“(T)he next president could not withdraw until sometime in 2019, and the withdrawal would not be effective until sometime in 2020,” said Daniel Bodansky, a scholar of international environmental law at Arizona State University and a former attorney at the State Department focused on climate change, in a Washington Post story.
About 132 nations have pledged to sign the climate treaty — more than enough to meet the threshold that says 55 countries that account for 55 percent of the carbon emissions must sign on. The United States and China make up 38 percent of the total, the post report says, adding that Russia, India, Japan and Brazil account for 7.5 percent, 4.1 percent, 3.8 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.