Trump begins withdrawal process from Paris Agreement

Donald Trump has on Monday (4 November) officially triggered the process of withdrawing the US from the Paris Agreement climate accord, which will make the world's largest economy the only nation outside of the agreement.

Trump begins withdrawal process from Paris Agreement

The US will withdraw from the Paris Agreement in November 2020: Image: Gage Skidmore

The US President formally notified the UN yesterday evening. The paperwork has been sent by the US Government and commences a one-year process of exiting the Paris Agreement. Trump will be able to finalise the withdrawal on November 4 2020, one day after the presidential election, in which Trump is seeking a second term.

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo reiterated the US Government stance that remaining in the agreement would be an “unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses and taxpayers”.

As part of the Nationally Determined Contribution submitted by the former Obama Administration, the US had agreed to cut its climate footprint by at least 26% below 2005 levels by 2025.

‘Wrong side of history’

Trump’s decision has been largely met with negativity, with former US Vice President Al Gore posting on Twitter: “No one person or party can stop our momentum to solve the climate crisis. But those who try will be remembered for their complacency, complicity, and mendacity in attempting to sacrifice the planet for their greed.”

Research suggests that extreme weather events cost the US economy more than $306bn in 2017, and that future climate-related events could drive more than 100 million people into poverty by 2030.

Moody’s has also estimated that if $69trn in damages by the end of the century could be caused if global carbon emissions are not reduced.

Solarcentury’s chief executive, Frans van den Heuvel added: “President Trump’s short-sighted political decision to formally trigger the United States’ exit from the Paris Agreement is not only a dangerous precedent to set but a significant blow to the global fight against climate chaos. It’s ostrich politics at its very worst; burying one’s head in the sand rather than acknowledging the worrying reality that the world faces.

“Such short-term protectionist policies to safeguard American jobs in its domestic fossil fuel industry completely disregard the consequences and significant cost to the US – and indeed all nations – of climate inaction.”

Earth Day Network’s president Kathleen Rogers said: “With his declaration, President Trump rejects the short and long-term gains for Americans and the world.  The current US administration is committed to protecting the fossil-fuel status quo and that commitment ignores the enormous economic and job-creating potential of a clean economy — from energy to manufacturing to transportation to food production.

“The decision also puts the current U.S. administration on the wrong side of history.”

The White House has additionally agreed to lower the requirements for automakers in the country to make their fleet vehicles cleaner and more efficient. Legislation has been discussed to freeze automotive emissions standards to around 37 miles per gallon (mpg) through to 2026, essentially cancelling the Obama Administration’s agreement for an average of 46mpg by 2025.

The White House has instead come to an agreement that requires automakers to deliver a 1.5% annual improvement in vehicle efficiency.

Michael R. Bloomberg, the United Nations Secretary-General’s special envoy for climate action, issued the following statement: “Abandoning the Paris Agreement is an abdication of leadership that the vast majority of Americans oppose. Americans want action on climate change, and it’s up to the public to deliver what Washington won’t – and we are. Bloomberg Philanthropies is supporting the thousands of cities, states, businesses, and organizations committed to helping the US reach the goals we set under the Paris Agreement.

“Through our Beyond Carbon campaign, we’re working to move America to 100% clean energy as fast as possible and supporting elected leaders who will take bold climate actions to help us get there.” 

Matt Mace

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