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Kerry: Fate Of Paris Climate Accord In Hands Of Voters In 2020 Election

Robbie Feinberg
Maine Public
Former Secretary of State John Kerry, left, with former Defense Secretary William Cohen and Felicia Knight, right, at the University of Maine in Orono Tuesday.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry encouraged Maine voters to make climate change a priority issue in the 2020 election and he cited President Trump's efforts to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord as a motivator.Speaking alongside former Defense Secretary William Cohen at the University of Maine Tuesday, Kerry said the president's decision to exit the agreement was one of the most irresponsible acts he could take.

But he also noted a technicality that could prevent the United State's full withdrawal, depending on how Americans vote in the presidential race next year.

"You cannot legally be out of the agreement until the day after next year's election in 2020," Kerry said. "That should be motivation for many Americans."

Kerry was referring to a provision in the climate accord that could allow the U.S. to halt withdrawal. There is also a petition process that allows the U.S. to re-enter the accord.

A Democrat, Kerry also applauded states like Maine for taking action to address climate change.

Journalist Steve Mistler is Maine Public’s chief politics and government correspondent. He is based at the State House.