Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Better out than in

Continued US membership in the Paris Agreement on climate would be symbolic and have no effect on US emissions. Instead, it would reveal the weaknesses of the agreement, prevent new opportunities from emerging, and gift greater leverage to a recalcitrant administration.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Davenport, C. Trump signs executive order unwinding Obama climate policies. New York Times (28 March 2017).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Climate Action Tracker USA (Climate Action Tracker, accessed 27 March 2017).

  3. A Trump presidency could mean 3.4 billion tons more US carbon emissions than a Clinton one. luxresearch (2 November 2016).

  4. Stavins, R. N. & Ki-Moon, B. Why the US should stay in the Paris climate agreement. The Boston Globe (20 April 2017).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bodansky, D. Legal Note: Could a Future President Reverse US Approval of the Paris Climate Agreement (Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions, 2016).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Sanderson, B. M. & Knutti, R. Nat. Clim. Change 7, 92–94 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Jacquet, J. & Jamieson, D. Nat. Clim. Change 6, 643–646 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. van Asselt, H. Quest. Int. Law 26, 5–15 (2016).

    Google Scholar 

  9. Kemp, L. Int. Environ. Agreem. Politics Law Econ. 16, 757–779 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Depledge, J. Glob. Environ. Politics 8, 9–35 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Pickering, J., Jotzo, F. & Wood, P. J. Glob. Environ. Politics 15, 39–62 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Synthesis Report on the Aggregate Effect of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (UNFCCC, 2015).

  13. Harvey, C. From France to Canada, countries are reeling from Trump's climate plans. Washington Post (16 November 2016).

    Google Scholar 

  14. Paterson, M. Br. J. Politics Int. Relations 11, 140–158 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Barrett, S. Resour. Energy Econ. 19, 345–361 (1997).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. The European Union in International Climate Change Politics: Still Taking a Lead? (eds Wurzel, R. K. W., Connelly, J. & Liefferink, D.) (Routledge, 2017).

  17. Bang, G., Hovi, J. & Sprinz, D. F. Clim. Policy 12, 755–763 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. New Energy Outlook 2016: Powering a Changing World (Bloomberg, 2016).

  19. Kemp, L. Clim. Policy 17, 86–101 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Kjellen, B. & Müller, B. Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends, Once More: a Call for Europe to Demonstrate Renewed Leadership in the International Climate Change Regime (Oxford Climate Policy, 2017).

    Google Scholar 

  21. Kemp, L. Clim. Policy 16, 1011–1028 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Taleb, N. N. Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder (Penguin Books, 2012).

    Google Scholar 

Download references


I thank F. Jotzo for his insightful comments on earlier drafts of this paper, and for the various discussions which have helped to inform and strengthen the analysis. I'd like to express my gratitude to C. Downie and L.-S. Luzzi for their invaluable edits and feedback.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Luke Kemp.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kemp, L. Better out than in. Nature Clim Change 7, 458–460 (2017).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing