President Trump misunderstood a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study he cited during a speech on Thursday announcing the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, university officials told Reuters.
The study in question, “How much of a difference will the Paris Agreement make?,” was published in April 2016 and states that, if countries upheld their commitments, the pact would slow the global temperature rise to between 0.6 degree and 1.1 degrees Celsius by 2100.
In his address on Thursday, however, Trump said the difference the Paris accord would make is negligible, saying it would only slow global warming by a “tiny, tiny amount.”
“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 1 degree Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100,” he said. The White House attributed the claim to the MIT study, according to Reuters.
But MIT officials rejected that assertion, saying that, without the agreement, the temperature could rise more dramatically.
“If we don’t do anything, we might shoot over 5 degrees or more and that would be catastrophic,” John Reilly, the co-director of the university’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, told Reuters.
One of the study’s authors, Erwan Monier, advised against the U.S. leaving the climate deal.
“We certainly do not support the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris agreement,” Monier told Reuters.