The United States has officially sent a notice to the United Nations of its intention to quit the Paris climate change agreement as soon as it is qualified to.
US president, Donald Trump, in June disclosed the intention of his government to stand-down the country’s commitment to the deal which was hammered out on April 22, 2016 after representatives of 196 parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted it by consensus on 12 December 2015 in Paris.
195 UNFCCC members have signed the agreement, 158 of which have ratified it as at August 2017. Trump’s June 1 announcement of the US withdrawal from the pact had elicited widespread criticism from the EU and the private sector in the US who Trump said he was protecting in the decision.
A statement obtained from the US State Department however said: “Today, the United States submitted a communication to the United Nations, in its capacity as depositary for the Paris Agreement, regarding the U.S. intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement as soon as it is eligible to do so, consistent with the terms of the Agreement.”
“As the President indicated in his June 1 announcement and subsequently, he is open to re-engaging in the Paris Agreement if the United States can identify terms that are more favourable to it, its businesses, its workers, its people, and its taxpayers,” it added.
The pact allows each country determine, plan, and regularly report its own contribution to mitigate global warming, but has no mechanism to force a country to set a specific target by a specific date.
However, the statement noted that: “The United States supports a balanced approach to climate policy that lowers emissions while promoting economic growth and ensuring energy security.”
It added: “We will continue to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions through innovation and technology breakthroughs, and work with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently and deploy renewable and other clean energy sources, given the importance of energy access and security in many nationally determined contributions.”
“The United States will continue to participate in international climate change negotiations and meetings, including the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP-23) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to protect U.S. interests and ensure all future policy options remain open to the administration. Such participation will include ongoing negotiations related to guidance for implementing the Paris Agreement,” the statement explained.