The US is now officially turning its back on international efforts to fight climate change. The US government has officially announced its intention to terminate the Paris Climate Agreement as soon as possible, Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo said. The United Nations confirmed that it had received such notification.
The US would continue to represent a "realistic and pragmatic model" in international talks, according to Pompeo. The US would continue to work with partners "to strengthen resilience to the effects of climate change".
Mary Altaffer / DPA
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
The United States economy "will continue to grow while reducing its emissions," said Pompeo. The US 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 the announcement by US President Donald Trump to remove the US from the treaty. He had been heavily criticized internationally for it. The United States is the second largest polluter of greenhouse gases behind China.
The Paris Climate Agreement came into effect exactly three years ago on 4 November 2016. For the first three years none of the signatory states were able to resign. The termination becomes effective again after the expiration of one year – in the case of the USA, only after the next presidential election on November 3, 2020.
Trump announced in June 2017 to withdraw from the contract. He broke a campaign pledge. In his view, it is too expensive and penalizes the country in international competition. The US could also return to the agreement – that would be conceivable, for example, if the Democrats came back to power after the election next year. The exit will come in one year but one way or another. The inauguration of a new president would be 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. Decisive parts of the agreement are binding under international law. However, there are no penalties for failure to fulfill the commitments. 195 states are part of the agreement.