US tells UN it is officially pulling out of Paris Agreement on climate change

President once said climate change was ‘hoax’ invented by Chinese

Andrew Buncombe
Monday 04 November 2019 11:58 EST
Donald Trump on his discussion with Prince Charles on climate change, and whether he believes in it

The United States has formally told the United Nations it is pulling out of the Paris climate accord, a deal that was signed by Donald Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

While Mr Trump, who has long denied the existence of man made climate change, had promised to withdraw the US from the 2015 deal, the formal process only got underway when Mike Pompeo said he had submitted a notice to the United Nations.

The notice, filed on Monday and which claimed the 2015 deal signed by 200 countries placed an “unfair economic burden” on the US economy, does not become official for one year.

“Today we begin the formal process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement,” the secretary of state said on Twitter.

“The US is proud of our record as a world leader in reducing all emissions, fostering resilience, growing our economy, and ensuring energy for our citizens. Ours is a realistic and pragmatic model.”

The 2015 deal, which sought to cut the emissions of green house gasses in order to keep the increase in global average temperature to below 2 °C, was signed off on by around 200 nations.

While campaigning for office in 2016, Mr Trump repeatedly made clear he planned to withdraw the US. Several times he said he believed climate change was a hoax, though he later said he was joking when he said it had been invented by Beijing.

The president has repeatedly raised questions about established science, even that produced by his own experts.

Last year, a report published by various US government bodies and departments warned that with “continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century – more than the current gross domestic product of many US states”.

Asked about the report, Mr Trump said: “I don’t believe it.”

Greta Thunberg gives speech outside White House as she joins student protest against climate change

Earlier this year, Mr Trump mocked teenage climate activists Greta Thunberg, a day after the delivered a scathing speech at the UN where she accused world leaders of failing to act to confront warming.

“She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see,” he said.

In her speech the teenager had said: “People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.”

Om Monday, activists criticised the president’s actions.

Nathaniel Keohane, a vice president at the Environmental Defence Fund, one of the US’s leading environmental groups, said the president was betraying the US’s allies.

“By withdrawing, the United States abandons its allies in the fight against climate change,” he said.

“It’s yet another instance of Trump acting counter to US interest in foreign policy. He’s sacrificing a stable future for our children to serve his narrow political interests.”

He added: “The truth, is the American people want action to solve climate change.”

Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, said: ”Donald Trump is the worst president in history for our climate and our clean air and water.

“Long after Trump is out of office, his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement will be seen as a historic error.”

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