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PODCAST: What Does the US Stand to Lose if it Pulls Out of the Paris Agreement?

This post is part of WRI’s blog series, The Trump Administration. The series analyzes policies and actions by the administration and their implications for climate change, energy, economics and more.


When U.S. President Donald Trump took the oath of office last week, the world at large braced for big changes.

It’s already clear from cabinet hearing meetings and Trump’s first week in office that his administration may pursue sweeping changes on one issue that demands international cooperation: climate change. If the United States pulls out of the Paris Agreement, as Trump has said he would, the country would join Uzbekistan, Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations not party to the landmark Agreement on climate change.

In this episode of the WRI podcast, Lawrence MacDonald hosts Andrew Light, a distinguished senior fellow in WRI’s Global Climate Program at WRI, and David Waskow, director of WRI’s International Climate Initiative, to discuss these developments.

The conversation centers on a blog post the two experts authored, titled “America Can’t Afford to Be a Climate Loner,” and addresses a concern that many of us have: What do we stand to lose under the isolationist rhetoric proposed by the new president?

What Does Isolation Look Like?

As highlighted in their blog post, Andrew and David discuss three forms of isolation and the impact they might have on the United States: diplomatic isolation, economic isolation and strategic isolation.

Each of these is tied to how the United States acts and responds to climate initiatives that have impacts far beyond the environment. So far it’s clear that President Trump’s approach will be vastly different from that of the past eight years under President Obama. What remains to be seen, however is just how far he will go.

For more episodes of the WRI Podcast, follow us on iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher.

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