The United States has officially started the process of exiting the Paris climate agreement. The government has announced its intention to withdraw from the agreement as soon as possible, Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo said. The United Nations has confirmed that it has received this notification.
The United States would continue to represent a "realistic and pragmatic model" in international talks, said Pompeo. The United States would continue to work with partners "to strengthen resilience to the effects of climate change".
The US economy "will continue to grow by reducing emissions," said Pompeo. The United States would continue to rely on an energy mix that also includes fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
The official resignation came more than two years after President Donald Trump announced that he would remove the United States from the treaty. He was strongly criticized internationally for this. The United States is the second largest greenhouse gas pollutant behind China.
US Democrats: "Betrayal for the future of all children"
The main democrats have criticized the announcement of the American government as "shocking". Climate change is "the existential threat of our time" and endangers the health and well-being of all people, said the chairman of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi. President Trump is therefore betraying the future of all children.
Senate-led Democrat Chuck Schumer spoke of a "dramatic regression" that would have a negative impact on the environment, the economy and national security for decades. Trump's decision was one of the worst of his mandate.
French President Emmanuel Macron also regretted the US decision to officially start the exit process under the Paris climate agreement. The move makes French-Chinese cooperation on climate and biodiversity policy even more necessary, Macron said during a state visit to China.
The resolution will take effect in a year
The Paris climate agreement came into force exactly three years ago on November 4, 2016. For the first three years, none of the signatory states could resign. The resolution will take effect once a one-year period has expired – in the case of the United States, only after the upcoming presidential elections of 3 November 2020.
Trump announced in June 2017 to withdraw from the contract. He broke a campaign commitment. In his view, it is too expensive and penalizes the country in international competition. The United States could also return to the agreement – it would be conceivable, for example, if the Democrats returned to power after next year's elections. The exit will arrive in a year but in one way or another. The inauguration of a new president would take place in January of the following year.
The Paris climate agreement aims to limit global warming to well below two degrees compared to pre-industrial times. States Parties should make an effort to stop them at 1.5 degrees. The decisive parts of the agreement are binding under international law. However, there are no penalties for non-fulfillment of commitments. 195 states are part of the agreement.