Nature: Trump pulls United States out of Paris climate agreement
Withdrawal from global pact may take almost four years — which could give the winner of the 2020 presidential race the final word.
US President Donald Trump has decided to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate accord, after months of heated debate among members of his administration. More than 190 nations agreed to the pact in December 2015, pledging to hold average global temperatures to 1.5–2 °C above pre-industrial levels.
“The United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord but begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States and its businesses, workers and taxpayers,” Trump said during a press conference in the White House rose garden on 1 June. “This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States.”
The president added that “as of today,” the United States would stop implementing its Paris pledges, including contributions to the Green Climate Fund to help developing countries deal with the effects of climate change. But Trump also pledged to “ensure that the United States remains the world leader on environmental issues”.
The mechanics of the US exit are complicated. The terms of the Paris agreement prevent the United States from withdrawing from the pact for four years, which means that the final word on US participation would not come before November 2020 — around the time of the next presidential election.
Meanwhile, the United States remains a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the foundational agreement under which the Paris accord was negotiated. This means that the country is likely to participate to some degree in international climate talks, just as it did when former President George W. Bush pulled out of another global climate pact ― the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
In a statement, the UNFCCC said that the Paris agreement “cannot be renegotiated based on the request of a single Party”.