Trump begins year-long process to formally exit Paris climate agreement

U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration had sent an official notification of its plans to the United Nations


Many publications report that Trump has announced plans to officially withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The process will take a year, meaning that, if plans go ahead – and Trump is re-elected – the U.S. will leave the international agreement a day after the presidential election in November 2020, the Guardian reports.

The Washington Post describes the move as one “that will leave the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases as the only nation to abandon the global effort to combat climate change”.

In a statement on Monday, U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration had sent an official notification of its plans to the United Nations, the Washington Post reports.



“In international climate discussions, we will continue to offer a realistic and pragmatic model – backed by a record of real-world results – showing innovation and open markets lead to greater prosperity, fewer emissions, and more secure sources of energy,” Pompeo said, according to the Post.

“We will continue to work with our global partners to enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change and prepare for and respond to natural disasters.” Pompeo added that the pact would bring “intolerable burdens” on the U.S. economy, the New York Times reports.

coal-power-plant
Coal-fired generation puts out about twice the amount of carbon dioxide – around 2,000 pounds for every megawatt hour generated. Most of the emissions of human-caused (anthropogenic) greenhouse gases (GHG) come primarily from burning fossil fuels—coal, hydrocarbon gas liquids, natural gas, and petroleum—for energy use.

Trump had announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement in 2017, though Monday was the first day that it was technically possible for the U.S. to ask to formally withdraw, the Financial Times reports.

The BBC News reports that the move has been condemned by international leaders as well as influential U.S. figures. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House, has condemned Trump’s move as a “disastrous decision that sells out our children’s future”, BBC News reports. “It is about the darkest moment in American diplomacy in a very, very long time and a huge blow to global efforts,” Bill McKibben, leader of the climate campaign group 350.org, told the BBC’s Newsday program.

Reuters reports the reaction from the office of French President Emmanuel Macron, who is in China. “We regret this [decision] and this only makes the Franco-Chinese partnership on the climate and biodiversity more necessary,” a French presidential official tells Reuters. “The text that will be signed tomorrow includes a paragraph on the irreversibility of the Paris agreement.”

Macron added that cooperation between Europe and China on reducing climate-warming emissions will be “decisive”.

Writing in the Washington Post, John Kerry, who was U.S. secretary of state from 2013 to 2017, and Chuck Hagel, who was U.S. defence secretary from 2013 to 2015, described Trump’s decision to officially withdraw from the Paris Agreement as a “dark day for America”.

They write: “This is not America first; once again, it’s America isolated…Climate change is already affecting every sector and region of the United States, as hundreds of top scientists from 13 federal agencies made clear in a report the White House itself released last year. The past five years were the warmest ever recorded. Without steep pollution reductions, climate change will risk tens of thousands of U.S. lives every year by the end of the century.”

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