* Trump to honour pledge to quit Paris deal - source
* U.N. rules say formalities to leave last four years
* Trump could obstruct work on Paris rule book
By Alister Doyle Environment Correspondent
OSLO, May 31 The United States could influence
or even disrupt work by other nations to combat climate change
until late 2020 even if President Donald Trump quits a global
agreement, legal scholars said on Wednesday.
Trump will honour a campaign pledge to pull out of the
195-nation Paris Agreement, a source briefed on the decision
told Reuters on Tuesday. Trump tweeted he would announce his
formal decision "over the next few days".
U.N. rules for the 2015 pact, which seeks to shift the world
economy from fossil fuels this century, say Washington would
formally have to wait until November 2020 to withdraw. Trump
could shorten the formalities to just one year by exiting Paris'
1992 parent treaty.
Quitting the Paris Agreement would leave Trump in a legal
grey zone until the next U.S. presidential election in 2020,
retaining a vote as other nations work on detailed rules on
issues such as how to monitor greenhouse gas emissions.
In the worst case "the U.S. could make it more difficult to
adopt the Paris rules", said Daniel Bodansky, a law professor at
Arizona State University.
"To the extent that (withdrawal from Paris) is already going
to harm relations with our allies, staying in and being
obstructionist would be even more harmful," he said. Trump has
promised to promote the coal industry over renewables.
Bodansky noted, however, that Washington did not try to
obstruct other nations' work on the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which
obliged rich nations to cut emissions, after President George W.
Bush angered U.S. allies by deciding in 2001 not to take part.
Megan Bowman, a law lecturer at King's College, London, said
the four-year waiting period was partly intended to insulate the
agreement from a shift to a Republican presidency after
Democratic President Barack Obama.
"The downside ... is that if they (the United States) are
recalcitrant they are sitting at the table, able to obstruct or
stall the process," she said. Paris imposes few legal
obligations before 2020 and has no sanctions for non-compliance.
The Paris Agreement's Article 28 says any nation wanting to
pull out has to wait three years from the date the agreement
gained legal force, which was Nov. 4, 2016, before seeking to
leave. It then has to wait another year.
In Berlin, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
stressed that withdrawal would take years. "The Americans can't
just leave the climate protection agreement. Mr. Trump believes
that because he doesn't know the details."
Trump would be taking a riskier step by withdrawing from
Paris' parent treaty, the 1992 Climate Convention, even though
it would require only a year's notice and void U.S. commitments
That Convention, seeking voluntary actions to rein in
greenhouse gas emissions and a landmark in cooperation between
rich and poor nations, has had bipartisan U.S. support. It was
signed by Republican President George Bush.
Paris goes one step further by obliging all nations to set
domestic targets to curb emissions to limit a creeping rise in
temperatures blamed for more heat waves, downpours and rising
Leaving the Convention would make the United States an
"international pariah on global climate change", said Robert
Stavins, director of Harvard University's environmental
Johan Rockstrom, director of the Stockholm Resilience
Centre, said a U.S. presence in the Paris negotiations until
2020 would be "the most negative thing ... they would still be
allowed to vote in the room".
But he said a quick, clean break by the United States from
the 1992 Convention might be best for other nations which could
then work without risks of obstruction.
(Reporting By Alister Doyle; Editing by Andrew Bolton)