The Trump administration formally outlined the United States’ intention to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement in an official notice sent to the United Nations. It was the first official written notice to the U.N. that the administration intends to withdraw from the 2015 pact. The Paris agreement was finalized in 2015 after drawn out negotiations. The deal relies heavily on voluntary cuts in emissions by all member countries. The agreement also sets a global target to keep the rise in the average temperature to no higher than 2 degrees Celsius above industrial levels. It also calls for approximately $100 billion a year in funding from developed countries toward developing countries to support green friendly energy sources.
Even so, the accord fell short of what some parties had hoped for. Island nations, which are impacted the most for obvious reasons, wanted the average temperature limit cap set at 1.5 degrees.Under the terms of the deal, the U.S. can’t entirely withdraw until Nov. 4, 2020 - one day after the next presidential election. The next president could decide to rejoin the agreement if Trump doesn’t win a second term.
Additionally, the U.S. can’t even formally notify the United Nations that it is withdrawing until 2019. As a result, Friday’s notice is a largely symbolic statement with no actual legal bearing.
The letter sent to the United Nations reads:
The Representative of the Unites States of America to the United Nations presents her compliments to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
This is to inform the Secretary-General, in connection with the Paris Agreement, adopted at Paris on December 12, 2015 (“the Agreement”), that the United States intends to exercise its right to withdraw from the Agreement. Unless the United States identifies suitable terms for reengagement, the United States will submit to the Secretary-General, in accordance with Article 28, paragraph 1 of the Agreement, formal written notification of its withdrawal as soon as it is eligible to do so. Pending the submission of that notification, in the interest of transparency for parties to the Agreement, the United States requests that the Secretary-General inform the parties to the Agreement and the States entitled to become parties to the Agreement of this communication relating to the Agreement.
The Representative of the Unites States of America to the United Nations avails herself of the opportunity to renew to the Secretary-General the assurances of her highest consideration.
In a communique, the G-20 nations noted the U.S. decision to withdraw from the agreement in a section dealing with climate and energy. "The United States of America states it will endeavor to work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently," the communique reads.
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Angela Merkel, the prime minister of Germany and European Union political heavyweight has been very vocal of her disapproval of the move by the Trump Administration.
"You are familiar with the American position. You know that, unfortunately -- and I deplore this -- the United States of America left the climate agreement, or rather announced their intention to do so," she said on the final day of the summit.
The U.S. State Department said that it will continue to participate in world climate change negotiations during the withdrawal process. It said in a statement, the U.S. participation in the continued negotiations would “protect U.S. interests and ensure all future policy options remain open to the administration.”
“The United States supports a balanced approach to climate policy that lowers emissions while promoting economic growth and ensuring energy security,” it said.
The U.S. State Department also mentioned that President Donald Trump is “open to re-engaging in the Paris Agreement if the United States can identify terms that are more favorable to it, its businesses, its workers, its people, and its taxpayers."
A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres confirmed receipt of the communication and noted that by the terms of the agreement.
The spokesman recalled Guterrres’ statement in June in which he called the decision to leave “a major disappointment” and called on the U.S. to remain a leader on “climate and sustainable development.”
What it all boils down to, according to President Trump, is that it is all part of a strategy designed to help bring back jobs in mining although economists question whether it is even possible to rejuvenate the industry.
Trump with the final word said, "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris," he added. And like that, he's gone!