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paris climate change deal

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The US has notified the UN of its intention to leave the Paris Climate Change Agreement, as other countries express regret and disappointment at the move.

The notification begins a one-year process of exiting the global climate change accord, culminating the day after the 2020 US election.

According to the US government, the climate change deal puts an “unfair economic burden” on Americans.

The Paris Agreement brought together 188 nations to combat climate change.

There has been widespread international condemnation of the US move.

The accord, agreed in 2015, committed the US and 187 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures below 2C above pre-industrial levels and attempting to limit them even more, to a 1.5C rise.

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The withdrawal decision – taken by President Donald Trump after he came to office in 2017 – made the US the world’s sole non-signatory and prompted high-level efforts by the EU to keep the agreement on track.

However, hundreds of local governments, businesses and organizations in the US have joined the We Are Still In movement, pledging to cut emissions and move to renewable energy.

The US issued its formal notification on the first day it was possible to do so.

President Trump had made withdrawing from the agreement one of his election campaign pledges but UN rules had meant it was not possible for the US to start the withdrawal process until November 4, 2019.

The withdrawal is still subject to the outcome of next year’s presidential election – if Donald Trump loses, the winner may decide to change course.

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According to a government report, unchecked climate change will cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars and damage human health and quality of life.

The 4th National Climate Assessment says: “Future risks from climate change depend… on decisions made today.”

The NCA 2018 report says climate change is “presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth”.

The warning is at odds with the Trump administration’s fossil fuels agenda.

The world’s leading scientists agree that climate change is human-induced and warn that natural fluctuations in temperature are being exacerbated by human activity.

The report – compiled with help from numerous US government agencies and departments – outlines the prospective impacts of climate change across every sector of American society.

Image source Wikipedia

US Issues First Written Notification on Paris Climate Change Agreement Pullout

G20 Final Agreement Acknowledges Donald Trump’s Withdrawal from Paris Climate Change Deal

Barack Obama: Paris Climate Deal Is World’s Best Chance

The assessment says: “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 (GDP) of many US states.”

It also notes that the effects of climate change are already being felt in communities across the country, including more frequent and intense extreme weather and climate-related events.

However, the report says that projections of future catastrophe could change if society works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and “to adapt to the changes that will occur”.

Last month, President Donald Trump accused climate change scientists of having a “political agenda”, telling Fox News he was unconvinced that humans were responsible for the earth’s rising temperatures.

After taking office, President Trump announced the US would withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement, which commits another 187 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels.

At the time, President Trump said he wanted to negotiate a new “fair” deal that would not disadvantage US businesses and workers.

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World’s leaders reacted to President Donald Trump’s announcement that the US is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

UN chief Antonio Guterres’ spokesman called President Trump’s announcement “a major disappointment” while the EU said it was “a sad day for the world”.

However, senior Republicans and the US coal industry backed the move.

President Trump said the accord “punished” the US and would cost millions of American jobs.

In an address at the White House, the presdient said he was prepared to negotiate a new agreement or re-enter the accord on improved terms.

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Donald Trump said.

The Paris agreement commits the US and 187 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and “endeavor to limit” them even more, to 1.5C.

Only Syria and Nicaragua did not sign up to the deal.

Donald Trump characterized the Paris agreement as a deal that aimed to hobble, disadvantage and impoverish the US.

He claimed the agreement would cost the US $3 trillion in lost GDP and 6.5 million jobs – while rival economies like China and India were treated more favorably.

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President Trump said he was fulfilling his “solemn duty to protect America and its citizens”.

He added: “We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore – and they won’t be.”

Donald Trump did not give a timescale. However, under the agreement, a nation seeking to leave the pact can only give notice three years after the date it entered into force – November 16, 2016.

The process of leaving then takes another year, meaning it would not be complete until just weeks after the US presidential election in 2020.

US payments to the UN Green Climate Fund, which helps developing countries cope with the effects of climate change, will stop.

Former President Barack Obama, who agreed to the Paris deal, immediately criticized Donald Trump’s move, accusing the Trump administration of “rejecting the future”.

Disney CEO Robert Iger and the entrepreneur Elon Musk both resigned from White House advisory councils.

Elon Musk said: “Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”

However, Republican congressional leaders and the US coal industry backed the move, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell supporting President Trump “for dealing yet another significant blow to the Obama administration’s assault on domestic energy production and jobs”.

The US biggest coal mining company, Peabody Energy, said the agreement would have badly affected the US economy.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called the decision “one of the worst policy moves made in the 21st Century because of the huge damage to our economy, our environment and our geopolitical standing”.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said he was “deeply disappointed” by President Trump’s decision.

UK’s PM Theresa May, who expressed her disappointment and told President Trump in a phone call that the deal protects the “prosperity and security of future generations”.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he respected Donald Trump’s decision but believed it was a “mistake both for the US and for our planet”.

Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso said: “I’m not just disappointed, but also feel anger.”

President Trump indicated he was open to another climate deal, saying he would “begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States”.

However, Donald Trump’s words suggested this was not a priority.

“We will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine,” he said.

During Donald Trump’s election campaign he dismissed climate change as a “hoax”.

French, German and Italian leaders quickly issued a joint statement rejecting a renegotiation of the agreement.

The statement said: “We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies.”

President Emmanuel Macron reflected the defiance among the remaining signatories, saying “we are fully committed”.

Reworking one of Donald Trump’s own phrases, President Macron added: “Wherever we live, whoever we are, we all share the same responsibility: make our planet great again.”

The Chinese foreign ministry said the parties to the Paris accord “should cherish this hard-won outcome”.

Meanwhile, the Democratic governors of New York, California and Washington all quickly vowed to respect the terms of the Paris deal.