US formally exits Paris Agreement climate pact amid election uncertainty
However, the outcome of the tight US Presidential election contest will determine for how long.
Reuters Newsagency reports President Trump’s Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, has promised to rejoin the Paris Agreement if elected.
At the end of vote counting on the day of the Presidential election, neither candidate had a clear victory and the result is likely to remain unclear for at least several days.
“The US withdrawal will leave a gap in our regime, and the global efforts to achieve the goals and ambitions of the Paris Agreement,” said Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Despite the withdrawal, the US still remains a party to the UNFCCC.
Ms Espinosa said the body will be “ready to assist the US in any effort in order to rejoin the Paris Agreement.”
President Trump first announced his intention to withdraw the US from the pact in June 2017, arguing it would undermine the US economy.
However, he was unable to formally do so until now because of the requirements of the deal.
The departure makes the US the only country of 197 signatories to have withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, thrashed out in 2015.
In signing up to the Paris Agreement President Barack Obama’s White House had pledged to cut US emissions 26-28 per cent by 2025 from 2005 levels under the deal.
Vice-President Biden is broadly expected to ramp up those goals if elected.
He has promised to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 under a sweeping US$2 trillion plan to transform the economy.
The Rhodium Group said that in 2020, the US will be at around 21 percent below 2005 levels.
It added that under a second Trump administration, it expects US emissions would increase by more than 30 percent through 2035 from 2019 levels.
Most scientists believe the world must cut emissions sharply and quickly in order to avoid the most catastrophic effects of global warming.
China, Japan, South Korea, and the European Union have recently ramped up their carbon-cutting targets.
By David Twomey
Source: Eco News