Paris Climate Agreement – Trump takes first step to withdraw (but it’ll still take four years)
The United States Government has formally communicated its intention to the United Nations to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement while simultaneously doubling down on its false promises to lower emissions.
Dated Friday, August 4, the US Department of State published a small ‘Media Note’explaining that “the United States submitted a communication to the United Nations, in its capacity as depositary for the Paris Agreement, regarding the US intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement as soon as it is eligible to do so, consistent with the terms of the Agreement.”
This is in no way surprising, of course, considering the hype and hullabaloo surrounding US President Donald Trump’s June 1 Rose Garden announcement of his intent to withdraw from the same, in which he laughingly displayed his and his Administration’s complete ignorance regarding the Paris Climate Agreement and its mechanisms. It was simply a matter of time before the United States acted to formalize Donald Trump’s announcement.
So there’s nothing new here, as such, but it’s nevertheless newsworthy considering just how hard the US is doubling down on its belief that it can withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and still seek to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Similarly, it is staggering that the US Government shows no signs of learning, or admitting its ignorance: The State Department reiterated Donald Trump’s megalomaniacal belief that the US was somehow hard done by, explaining that Donald Trump “is open to re-engaging in the Paris Agreement if the United States can identify terms that are more favorable to it, its businesses, its workers, its people, and its taxpayers.”
How magnanimous of him.
In its media note, the State Department committed to its misled belief that the “United States supports a balanced approach to climate policy that lowers emissions while promoting economic growth and ensuring energy security”
and that the country “will continue to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions through innovation and technology breakthroughs.” Further, and somewhat concerningly, the US also reiterated its intention to “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.”
We’ve already seen, repeatedly, that the US fascination with coal is not paying dividends, and despite promises of support and the return of jobs to the coal industry from Donald Trump, the US coal industry continues to slide into obscurity. Color me slightly concerned, therefore, that the US is sticking with its patently false belief that fossil fuels can be used “cleanly and efficiently” and that they intend to spread such thinking around the world.
The United Nations, in response to receiving said notification from the US delegation, again expressed their “disappointment”:
“As the Secretary-General said in a statement on 1 June 2017, the decision by the United States to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement is a major disappointment for global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote global security,” explained Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General. “It is crucial that the United States remains a leader on climate and sustainable development. Climate change is impacting now. He looks forward to engaging with the American government and all other actors in the United States and around the world to build the sustainable future for our children and future generations.”
The United States isn’t leaving the table, which is something of a small relief, even if its commitment to remain sounds something akin to a mob-boss’s threat:
“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 US 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.”