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U.S. Begins Formal Withdrawal from Paris Agreement

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers statements at the State Department in Washington, D.C., October 9, 2019. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

The Trump administration formally notified the United Nations on Monday that the U.S. will begin its withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, a process that will be completed over one year.

“Today the United States began the process to withdraw from the Paris Agreement,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “Per the terms of the Agreement, the United States submitted formal notification of its withdrawal to the United Nations. The withdrawal will take effect one year from delivery of the notification.”

“We will continue to work with our global partners to enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change and prepare for and respond to natural disasters,” Pompeo added.

Trump has criticized the non-binding agreement, which 195 countries signed in 2015, saying other countries benefit from the climate accord at the expense of America. Wealthier countries such as the U.S. had pledged to assist financially struggling countries meet their greenhouse-gas emissions-reduction goals.

“What we won’t do is punish the American people while enriching foreign polluters,” Mr. Trump said last month during an appearance in Pittsburgh. “I can say it right now and I’m proud to say it: it’s called America First, finally.”

“My job is to represent the people of Pittsburgh, not the people of Paris,” Trump added, recalling his 2017 remark.

The president first announced in June, 2017 that the U.S. would withdraw, making good on his campaign promise to do so, but the earliest the Trump administration is permitted to exit the agreement is November 4, 2020, one day after the next presidential election.

The goal of the climate accord was to keep global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius over this century. For its part, the U.S. had pledged to lower greenhouse-gas emissions by approximately a quarter by 2025, using 2005 levels as a benchmark.

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