US formally withdraws from Paris accord

WASHINGTON/MOSCOW, NOV 5 (AFP/IANS) | Publish Date: 11/5/2019 10:55:02 AM IST

The United States formally notifies the United Nations that it was withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, making the world’s largest economy the sole outlier from the agreement. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, announcing the withdrawal that will be effective in one year, reiterated President Donald Trump’s remarks last year that the agreement imposed an “unfair economic burden” on the United States. 

The US, which put out 5 billion tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) last year, ranks behind China as the second biggest producer of the gas that is responsible for global warming. But on a per capita basis, Americans are the world’s biggest polluters, putting out 15.3 tonnes of the gas each.

The pullout from the agreement fulfils President Donald Trump’s election pledge to his base which is wary of international agreements. Pompeo said, “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 US pledges made under the Agreement.”

Monday was the third anniversary of the Paris Agreement coming into force after it had been ratified by the required number of countries. Significantly, the withdrawal will come into force the day after the US presidential election on November 4, 2020, a year after the formal notice is served. Unlike Trump, all the Democratic Party candidates for the presidential nomination are strong supporters of the Paris Agreement, which committed the US to cut its carbon emissions from the 2005 level by 26 per cent by 2025.

Joe Biden, who was the vice president when the US signed the Paris Agreement and is now a candidate to run against Trump next year, called scrapping the deal, “shameful”.

Meanwhile, Russia on Tuesday joined other nations in criticising the US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, saying it seriously undermined the agreement. The US pullout “undermines this agreement in the most serious way, because it is the leading country in terms of emissions,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“And without the largest economy in the world, it’s very, very hard to talk about any kind of climate agreement.”  After initially holding out, Russia formally adopted the accord in September, with authorities saying climate change was a growing risk to the economy and public safety.

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