By submitting their formal notification to the United Nations (UN) on Nov. 4, 2019, the United States began the process of withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. One year from now, the United States will officially be out of the agreement after the UN waiting period finalizes their decision. President Donald Trump on June 1, 2017, had decided to pull out of the Paris Agreement for economic reasons.

The Paris Agreement was created in 2015 as a consensus with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that called for immediate action to combat climate change. The agreement was signed by over 200 countries including Afghanistan, Kenya, Hungary who agreed to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally it was signed by the top pollution emitting countries, such as China, the U.S. and India respectively, who all committed to cut down on their carbon footprint impact. Long term goals of the UNFCCC entailed limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees celsius and to keep it well below two degrees. Compared to other climate agreements, the Paris Accords has been more successful due to enabling countries to set their own goals and strategies for emission reduction.

The U.S. is currently the only country withdrawing from the agreement. President Trump largely believes that the agreement was restricting U.S. business competition and limiting economic growth. Furthermore, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the U.S. will continue to make improvements to preserve the environment and to work with their global partners to combat climate change effects. The agreement was purposefully created to make it easy to join and hard to leave.

According to the National Public Radio (NPR), the U.S. had helped spread the rules that would hold other countries accountable for their actions. Promising to reduce emissions by a quarter or have the same levels as they did in the 1990s by 2025, the U.S. is not on track to accomplish that promise according to NPR. The U.S. will also have to cease climate funding help to underdeveloped nations.

“President Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement because of the unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses, and taxpayers by U.S. pledges made under the Agreement,” Pompeo said in a press statement. Trump had announced that domestic cities like Pittsburg and Detroit should be prioritized over foreign country cities like Paris, France.

Former President Barack Obama had joined the agreement in 2015 using executive action, meaning that he did not need Senate approval or advice. The Paris Agreement restates obligations in Article four of the 1992 UNFCCC, meaning that since the Senate approved the 1992 vote, Obama did not need consent for the Paris Accords in 2015 as they are essentially the same thing. President Obama did not need to create new laws to reduce their emissions and meet the US’s obligations. Laws were already put into place and approved by Congress.

With the U.S. leaving, over 3,800 leaders within the U.S. still stand with the agreement being apart of the ‘We Are Still In’ movement. They promised to continue to work towards their previous emission cut goal in the agreement even though the U.S. is considered no longer a part of it. For more information visit their official website.

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