Kerry Criticizes Trump for Comments on Paris Agreement

The Secretary of State points to the food, water, and migration challenges posed by climate change and why Trump's rejection of Paris would be so dangerous.

Photo: Flickr: United Nations Photo

Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this month criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his pledge to "cancel" the Paris climate agreement negotiated in December last year. Specifically, Kerry highlighted the security and stability implications of U.S. withdrawal from the agreement:

It would be an act of extraordinary danger to our country because of the path it would put us on, both in terms of our global leadership on the issue as well as the actual policies we need to implement... [We're seeing] refugees that are being created in various parts of the world as a result of lack of water or fights over food or the fact that they have to move from where they live today. To talk about just causally - without understanding the work that went into it or the rationale for it - ripping it up would be one of the most reckless, irresponsible, historically wrong acts I can think of.

You can watch the full interview between Sec. Kerry and MSNBC's Chris Hayes here.

In addition to Sec. Kerry's criticisms, Todd Stern, the former U.S. Envoy for Climate Change and chief negotiator of the Paris Agreement, published an op-ed in The Washington Post decrying Trump's comments that the agreement "gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use right here in America."

In particular, Stern highlighted the human security costs of failing to live up to the Paris agreement:

During the course of this century, climate change, with the impacts it produces — such as severe droughts and floods, extreme heat, massive wildfires, rising sea levels and super storms — has more capacity to disrupt life as we know it and to threaten both human welfare and national security than any other issue, save nuclear conflict.
Trump made no mention of climate change in his much-hyped energy speech, but has previously denied the existence of climate change,  referring to it as a hoax "created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive" on Twitter.

Author:

Ken Sofer was a summer fellow with the Resource Security program at New America where he worked on the intersection between climate change, resource competition, and international security.