Never miss a great news story!
Get instant notifications from Economic Times
AllowNot now

You can switch off notifications anytime using browser settings.
Stock Analysis, IPO, Mutual Funds, Bonds & More

US formally moves to exit the Paris Agreement

The announcement is not unexpected as United States President Donald Trump had announced plans to exit the global climate agreement in June 2017. This is likely to be a key issue at the upcoming annual UN-sponsored climate summit, which is being h...

, ET Bureau|
Nov 05, 2019, 11.05 AM IST
The United States formally notified the United Nations on Monday that it was withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“Today the United States began the process to withdraw from the Paris Agreement,” said US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

The announcement is not unexpected as United States President Donald Trump had announced plans to exit the global climate agreement in June 2017. However, the ramifications of the exit of a major economy and big emitter, the US is the second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, at time when countries need to step up efforts to slow down the warming of the planet will have to be addressed. This is likely to be a key issue at the upcoming annual UN sponsored climate summit, which is being hosted in Madrid, Spain in December.

Despite Trump’s announcement in 2017 a formal move to withdraw from the 2015 pact had to wait till this year because of a provision in the Paris Agreement. The 2015 pact had lock in period of three years from the date of its entry into force—the Paris Agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016. Monday’s notification begins the formal year long process for the US to withdraw from the agreement. This will mean that US will continue to be part of the discussions that will be held in December in Madrid.

For many it was déjà vu. In 2001, US President George W Bush announced that the US was withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, the first international climate agreement. Bush had said that the 1997 agreement would hurt the US economy and give unfair advantage to other countries since developing countries were not required to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. Arguments that Trump echoed in his 2017 announcement. Many experts say that the lack of US participation in the 1997 agreement severely undermined the efforts to cut emissions to slow down global warming.

While the US exit from the 2015 agreement is not unexpected there are concerns about how it will impact the global effort to slowdown warming and effectively tackle climate change. Reacting to the formal withdrawal, Spain’s environment minister Teresa Ribera said that although it was expected, the move dealt a blow-- “I deeply regret this decision, which, no matter how it was announced, is no less worrying.”

Michael Bloomberg, who serves as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action described the move as an “abdication of leadership.”

The rising incidence of extreme weather events that are likely induced or exacerbated by climate change makes it imperative for countries to step up efforts to restrict temperature increase to “well below 2 degrees C” in order to limit the extent of adverse impacts of warming. The UN climate science panel gives a time frame of 12 years for countries to prevent the worst impacts of warming. The US withdrawal will mean that other countries would have to step up their efforts to curb greenhouse emissions. This could mean increased pressure on developing countries such as China and India, the largest and third largest emitters.

The formal move to withdraw from the agreement has come under criticism from environmental groups and civil society organisations. “By withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, the Trump administration is showing that it cares neither about science nor economics,” said Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the Washington DC based think tank World Resources Institute. Countering Trump’s argument that agreement would hurt the US economy, Steer said that the administration’s views were driven by “outdated views from the last century” even though it is now clear that climate action “promotes greater economic efficiency, drives innovation, and provides long-term policy consistency. Combined, these lead to a much stronger economy.”

With an eye to the 2020 US presidential elections, Bloomberg, who is among the initiators of the “We are Still In”, a platform of US cities, states, and businesses committed to contributing towards the Paris Agreement goals, said, “the American people must elect leaders who will confront climate change and put the public’s health and safety first. Until then, we will continue to fight the climate crisis with the urgency required, city by city and state by state. We can't afford to wait.”

Also Read

World 'nowhere near' meeting Paris Agreement targets: Experts

Paris Agreement: Differences on finance and transparency issues persist

Rule-book to implement Paris Agreement adopted at Poland climate conference

UN Climate Summit host Poland looks to help seal Paris Agreement

Add Your Comments
Commenting feature is disabled in your country/region.
Download The Economic Times Business News App for the Latest News in Business, Sensex, Stock Market Updates & More.

Other useful Links

Copyright © 2019 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service