The world’s climate action efforts were left on shakier ground on Monday after the United States, notified the United Nations of its formal withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, the 2015 global agreement for countries to cut emissions and reverse global warming.
President Donald Trump had said in 2017 that he was taking the U.S. — the world’s second largest CO2 emitter — out of the deal. Monday was the first day the rules of the agreement permitted the U.S. to begin that process. The withdrawal will take a year — until just after the 2020 U.S. Presidential elections.
“President Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement because of the unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses, and taxpayers by U.S. pledges made under the Agreement,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press statement on Monday.
“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,” Mr Pompeo said.
The U.S. would have to, by 2025, cut its emissions to 26%-28% below the 2005 levels as part of its contribution to the Paris goal of keeping global temperature increases in this century to within 2 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial temperature averages.
President Trump has, in the past, called climate change a hoax created by China and his administration has reversed several Obama-era climate policies — including, now, the decision to be a part of the Paris Agreement.
“This is not America first; once again, it’s America isolated,” former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a Washington Post op-ed.
“The EU with our partners stand ready to strengthen cooperation with all parties to implement it,” the European Union’s Climate Action Commissioner, Miguel Arias Cañete, tweeted on Tuesday.
“We will continue working with stakeholders and entities in the United States who remain committed to ambitious climate action.”