US Formally Exits Paris Accord

US Formally Exits Paris Accord
The United States Capitol and U.S flags are reflected in a window in Washington on Oct. 29, 2020. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

BERLIN—The United States on Wednesday formally left the Paris Agreement, fulfilling an old promise by President Donald Trump. The global pact was forged five years ago aimed at curbing the potential threat of climate change.

The move, announced by President Donald Trump and triggered by his administration a year ago, has no immediate impact on international efforts to curb the threat.

There are 189 countries that remain committed to the 2015 Paris accord, which aims to keep the increase in average temperatures worldwide below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), ideally no more than 1.5C (2.7 F).

Many scientists claim that any rise beyond 2 degrees Celsius could have a devastating impact on large parts of the world, raising sea levels, stoking tropical storms, and worsening droughts and floods.

The Paris accord requires countries to set their own voluntary targets for reducing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. The only binding requirement is that nations have to accurately report on their efforts.

NTD Photo
Green lights are projected onto the facade of the Hotel de Ville in Paris, France, after President Donald Trump announced his decision that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement at a news conference on June 1, 2017. (Philippe Wojazer/File Photo via Reuters)

The United States and China are the world’s largest emitters of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide and its contribution to cutting emissions is seen as important, but it is not alone in the effort.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has said he favors signing the United States back up to the Paris accord if he turns out the winner for the 2020 presidential election.

The German government said it was “highly regrettable” that the United States had left the pact.

While the Trump administration has shunned federal measures to cut emissions, Seibert noted that U.S. states, cities, and businesses have pressed ahead with their own efforts.

NTD staff contributed to this report.

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