Selin and Najam on Trump and the Paris Agreement


Adil Najam, Dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, and Associate Professor of International Relations Henrik Selin collaborated on an Op-Ed discussing the shift of tone at the ongoing 2016 United Nations Climate Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco following the outcome of the United States presidential election.

Selin and Najam discuss President-Elect Donald Trump’s past comments that he does not believe in human-induced climate change, and the danger of undoing the progress accomplished both in Marrakesh and during the Paris climate talks of 2015.

The Op-Ed, entitled “What Could The Rest Of the World Do If Trump Pulls The US Out Of The Paris Agreement On Climate Change?” was published by The Conversation on November 13, 2016.

From the text of the article:

Climate change negotiators from around the world – now meeting at the COP22 conference in Marrakech, Morocco – continue steadfastly with the task of putting meaning and action into the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement to bring down global greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet, the tone in Marrakech has suddenly become more subdued. While many conversations remain staunchly defiant, others have assumed a funeral-like quality, as national delegates and civil society representatives try to assess the ramifications of the U.S. presidential election.

Elections have consequences for global climate change negotiations and the future of the planet.

President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly stated he does not believe in human-induced climate change. He has argued that climate change is an expensive hoax that was created by the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive. He has also declared his intent to roll back federal climate change and renewable energy policy. Most poignantly for Marrakech, he has loudly declared an intention to “cancel the Paris climate agreement.

Some cling to the hope that President Trump will forget pronouncements made by Candidate Trump just as Candidate Trump had ignored the pontifications of Citizen Trump. An important indicator of why this may not be the case is the appointment of Myron Ebell as head of the transition team for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ebell, also a front-runner to be appointed as head of the EPA, is an outspoken climate change denier who flat out rejects the Paris Agreement as unconstitutional.

You can read the entire article here.

Najam was a co-author for the Third and Fourth Assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); work for which the scientific panel was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the public understanding of climate change science. In 2008 he was invited by the United Nations Secretary General to serve on the UN Committee on Development (CDP). Learn more about him here. 

Prior to his current faculty position, Selin was a Wallenberg Research Fellow in Environment and Sustainability in the Environmental Policy and Planning Group, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2001-04), an Associate with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2001-03), and an Associate with the Center for International Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2003-04). Learn more about him here.