U.S. withdraws from the Paris Climate Agreement


Hunter Berube

Suffolk Climate Watch graphic

The United States pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement on Nov. 4, after a three year delay. They are the first nation to withdraw from the agreement. 

The move was announced in June of 2017 by President Donald Trump, but required a lengthy process of three years due to UN regulations, according to BBC

The Paris Climate Agreement was established in 2015 in an effort to reduce global warming temperatures. It was only two years later when America, the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, withdrew.

“The U.S. withdrawal, if it is sustained by the next administration, will inevitably cause some countries to reduce their level of effort on implementing existing commons,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a climate-policy researcher at Princeton University, in an interview with Nature.

According to The New York Times, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, filed the paperwork for the final withdrawal process on Nov. 4, 2019. It didn’t take effect until 2020.

The treaty itself was signed in 2015 but did not take effect until Nov. 4, 2016. This occurred 30 days after more than 50 countries had ratified the treaty, according to BBC.

Under President Barack Obama, the treaty was aimed to reduce U.S. emissions by 24% below 2005 levels, by the year 2025. However, this goal stopped under the Trump administration.

Aside from the U.S., 189 of the 195 countries that signed the Paris Climate Agreement went on to formally sign the accord. Currently, there have been no other countries to withdraw from the agreement, according to The New York Times.

The U.S. represents 15% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and constitutes one of the largest economies, according to BBC.

Though there have been reduced amounts of greenhouse gas emissions this year due to less air travel, the U.S. continues to pursue strategies that support fossil fuels. According to Nature, energy made from fossil fuels continues to increase.

Many American citizens feel disappointed in the decision and would rather see the nation combat the crisis, according to BBC.