On June 1, 2017, United States President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would cease all participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation.
He added that he was open to negotiating for “a better deal”, but European leaders said that was not possible.
Paris agreement was adopted in 2015 by 195 nations, with 147 ratifying it—including the United States, which is the world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter. Agreement pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions and keep the global temperature from rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels over the course of the next century.
During the presidential campaign, Trump had pledged to withdraw from the pact, saying a withdrawal would help American businesses and workers, especially those in the fossil fuel industry.
Trump stated that the withdrawal would be in accordance with his America First policy.
In accordance with Article 28 of the Paris Agreement, the earliest possible effective withdrawal date by the United States cannot be before November 4, 2020, four years after the Agreement came into effect in the United States and coincidentally one day after the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
President Obama did not seek Congressional approval for the agreement; however, he did pledge to cut the United State’s emissions by up to 28 percent by the year 2025. Only Syria and Nicaragua refused to sign the accord, claiming it wasn’t harsh enough in the battle against climate change.
Until the withdrawal takes effect, the United States may be obligated to maintain its commitments under the Agreement, including the requirement to continue reporting its emissions to the United Nations.
However, legal doubt has been expressed concerning the enforceability of provisions of an agreement executed solely by executive order that purports to limit the power of the presidency itself by disallowing immediate executive reversal.
United Nations said that the decision by the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change is a major disappointment for global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote global security.
The Paris Agreement was adopted by all the world’s nations in 2015 because they recognize the immense harm that climate change is already causing and the enormous opportunity that climate action presents.