Trump begins formal process to quit climate agreement
In a notification submitted to the United Nations, the U.S. initiated the process of formal withdrawal from the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement on Monday, jeopardizing the global fight against reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
"Today, we begin the formal process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement," said Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, in a statement. The process of exiting from the accord will take around a year and is likely to conclude close to the U.S presidential elections date in November.
An opinion poll conducted earlier this year by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication showed a significant number of Americans expressing grave concern that rising temperatures are contributing to wildfires and extreme weather events in the country.
The Trump administration announced in 2017 an intention to exit from the Paris Agreement. In retaliation, around 26 states formed an alliance to fulfill their climate pledge. "It is time to put Youngstown, Detroit and Pittsburgh, along with many, many other locations within our great country, before Paris, France," the U.S. president had said in 2017. Trump later termed climate change a "hoax" spread by a section of scientists.
More than 200 countries signed the climate agreement in 2016, committing to significantly reduce their emissions to limit global temperature rise within 2 degrees Celsius. A large number of signatories are keen to slash emissions further to limit the global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees Celsius.
"By withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, the Trump administration is abdicating the necessary leadership role of the U.S., ignoring science and the experiences of those bearing the brunt of the climate crisis," said Michelle Nunn, president and CEO of CARE, an international humanitarian agency.
The decision for formal withdrawal comes a few weeks ahead of the annual climate change summit to be held in Madrid, Spain. At present, China, India and the U.S. are responsible for 85 percent of the net increase in emissions in 2018, according to International Energy Agency estimates.
Under the Paris accord, both China and India -- because of their developing country status -- are entitled to green funds. Developed countries pledged to provide funds to help developing countries switch over to cleaner technologies to reduce emissions and deal with the consequences of rising temperatures.
The U.S. withdrawal from the accord is likely to adversely affect the negotiation process and outcomes at the Madrid climate talks. The U.S had promised to reduce emissions by 26 percent.
In order to meet the global emission target, there would be more pressure on China and India to enhance their commitment to slash their emissions. China has already achieved its 2020 carbon emission target about three years ahead of schedule, raising expectations among negotiators that the country can set new emission targets.
"He [Trump] can't cancel a multilateral treaty signed by nearly 200 sovereign nations, but he can keep America stuck in the fossil fuel past while China and other nations become 21st-century leaders," said Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace U.S.