The Trump administration has made an official statement to the United Nations that the country plans to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement. While the statement, which was released by the State Department, does not formally change anything at this time, this statement coupled with President Donald Trump's decision in June to leave the pact signals a strong message to the world.
The State Department announced in a statement that the United States plans to continue participating in the international meetings and negotiations on climate change deals. In this same statement, the department said that Trump is “open to re-engaging in the Paris Agreement if the United States can identify terms that are more favorable to it, its business, its workers, its people and its taxpayers."
Nigel Purvis informed the Associated Press of a detail that will have a substantial effect on the timeline of the U.S.'s planned withdrawal: any other country cannot withdraw from new international agreements until three years after they go into effect. The Paris Climate Accord only went into effect on November 4, 2016, which means that the soonest the United States could start the withdrawal process is in November of 2019. This process takes a year, making the earliest withdrawal date November 4, 2020, the day after the next presidential election.
“The State Department is telling the U.N. what the president already told the world on June 1 and it has no legal effect,” Nigel Purvis told the Associated Press.
The Paris Climate Accord was created to prevent the Earth's temperature from increasing by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century. It has already increased by 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) since that time. The majority of scientists claim that the burning of coal, oil, and gas is directly responsible.
The nature of the Paris climate agreement allows countries to come up with their own plans for cutting emissions. Trump does not have to adhere to the specific goals made for the United States by former president Barack Obama. During Obama's presidency, the U.S. agreed to reduce polluting emissions by more than 25% by the year 2025. There are no ramifications or penalties if we do not. The pact, signed by 195 countries, simply requires that an emissions-reducing plan is made and that progress on these self-set goals is reported.
The Paris agreement will be continued by the other 194 countries, whether the United States chooses to participate or not. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric made a statement on behalf of the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying that Guterres welcomes any effort from the United States to re-engage in the agreement. The spokesman reiterated the sentiments of a statement made by the Secretary-General when President Trump first announced the withdrawal saying that it was "a major disappointment for global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote global security."