WASHINGTON >> The Trump administration formally notified the United Nations today that it would withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change, leaving global climate diplomats to plot a way forward without the cooperation of the world’s largest economy.
The action, which came on the first day possible under the accord’s complex rules on withdrawal, begins a yearlong countdown to the U.S. exit and a concerted effort to preserve the Paris Agreement, under which nearly 200 nations have pledged to cut greenhouse emissions and to help poor countries cope with the worst effects of an already warming planet.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the notification on Twitter and issued a statement saying the accord would have imposed intolerable burdens on the U.S. economy.
“The U.S. approach incorporates the reality of the global energy mix and uses all energy sources and technologies cleanly and efficiently, including fossils fuels, nuclear energy, and renewable energy,” Pompeo said.
Though American participation in the Paris Agreement will ultimately be determined by the outcome of the 2020 election, supporters of the pact say they have to plan for a future without American cooperation. And diplomats fear that Trump, who has mocked climate science as a hoax, will begin actively working against global efforts to move away from planet-warming fossil fuels, like coal, oil and natural gas.
Keeping up the pressure for the kinds of economic change necessary to stave off the worse effects of planetary warming will be much harder without the world’s superpower.
“Yes, there are conversations. It would be crazy not to have them,” Laurence Tubiana, who served as France’s climate change ambassador during the Paris negotiations, said in New York recently, adding, “We are preparing for Plan B.”
The letter to the United Nations today would allow Trump to officially pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement the day after the presidential election. The United States would still be allowed to attend negotiations and weigh in on proceedings but would be downgraded to observer status.
Former Vice President Joe Biden today said in a tweet that Trump’s withdrawal from Paris is “shameful” and an abandonment of America’s international leadership. He along with nearly every Democratic presidential candidate has promised that if elected, reentering the Paris accord will be a top priority.