MIT scientists say Trump misused their climate change research to defend leaving Paris accord

President Donald Trump announces his decision Thursday to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord.

Officials at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say that President Donald Trump misused the university’s research on climate change when he cited it Thursday to defend his decision to pull the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

“Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100.” Trump said during his announcement Thursday. “Tiny, tiny amount.”

According to The Washington Post, Trump was referencing a 2015 MIT report that found proposed emission cuts in the Paris accord would result in about 0.2 degrees Celsius less warming by 2100.


Jake Jacoby, a co-founder of MIT’s program on climate change, told The Associated Press the report being referenced by the Trump administration is outdated.

“They found a number that made the point they want to make,” Jacoby said. “It’s kind of a debate trick.”

Erwan Monier, a coauthor of the 2015 study and lead scientist at MIT’s department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, told the MIT Technology Review that the report didn’t include all ensuing commitments from participating countries or look at the continuation of the pledges past 2030.

“This idea that the Paris agreement has a negligible impact on future climate change is certainly not what we conveyed and was not the conclusion of our analysis,” he told the Review.  “We make clear that if we want to limit warming to 2 °C, we need to do more and we need continued effort past 2030.”

Monier told the publication that no one from the Trump administration contacted the group of scientists to discuss the findings, saying it appeared the White House picked out the lowest number they could find exploring the impact of the landmark climate agreement.

Another author of the report, John Reilly, told the Post he “disagrees completely” with the president’s description of the cut as “tiny.”


“The logic that, ‘This isn’t making much progress on a serious problem, therefore we’re going to do nothing,’ just doesn’t make sense to me,” Reilly told the newspaper. “The conclusion should be — and our intended implication for people was — not to overly celebrate Paris, because you still have a long journey in front of you. So carb up for the rest of the trip.”