‘The reality is America’s CO2 emissions have been falling…’
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that he submitted a formal notice to the United Nations. That starts a withdrawal process that does not become official for a year. His statement touted America’s carbon dioxide cuts and accurately called the Paris deal an “unfair economic burden” to the U.S. economy, as growing industrial economies in China and India continue to build coal-fired power plants and increase emissions.
Republican Sen. James Inhofe, a longtime critic of costly policies intended to address the climate change hoax, cheered the move by President Trump.
“The Paris Climate Agreement is nothing but empty promises,” he said in a statement. “By making the wise decision to formally withdraw the United States as a party to the treaty as soon as possible, President Trump is standing up for the facts and putting the welfare of American workers and families above the climate alarmists’ radical globalist agenda.
“The reality is America’s CO2 emissions have been falling. In fact, in 2017, the United States led the world in CO2 emission reductions while, notably, China led in emissions—and the Paris Agreement wouldn’t have done anything to rein in China.”
Nearly 200 nations signed the climate deal in which each country provides its own goals to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases that lead to climate change.
“In international climate discussions, we will continue to offer a realistic and pragmatic model — backed by a record of real world results — showing innovation and open markets lead to greater prosperity, fewer emissions, and more secure sources of energy,” Pompeo said in a statement.
The U.S. started the process with a hand-delivered letter, becoming the only country to withdraw. The United Nations will soon set out procedural details for what happens next, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.
Agreement rules prevented any country from pulling out in the first three years after the Nov. 4, 2016, ratification. The U.S. withdrawal doesn’t become complete until the day after the 2020 election.
President Donald Trump has been promising withdrawal for two years, but Monday was the first time he could actually do it.
Trump’s decision was condemned as a reckless failure of leadership by environmental experts, activists and critics such as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“Donald Trump is the worst president in history for our climate and our clean air and water,” said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club. “Long after Trump is out of office his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement will be seen as a historic error.”
The agreement set unrealistic goals of preventing another 0.9 degrees (0.5 degrees Celsius) to 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) of warming from current levels. The pledges made in 2015 were impossible to attain because carbon dioxide is only one of many contributing factors to how the climate changes. Solar activity, cloud cover and water vapor are other major factors.
The deal calls for nations to come up with more ambitious carbon dioxide cuts every five years, starting in November 2020. Because of the expected withdrawal, the U.S. role in 2020 negotiations will be reduced, experts said.
Trump has been promising to pull out of the Paris deal, which was never ratified by the U.S. Senate as required for all treaties, since 2017. In October, he accurately called it a massive wealth transfer from America to other nations and said it was one-sided.
The European Union’s goal was to cut carbon pollution in 2030 by 40% compared with 1990 levels, which is greater than America’s pledge, said Rob Jackson, a Stanford University professor and chairman of the Global Carbon Project. The United Kingdom has already exceeded that goal, he said.
Pompeo said U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions dropped 13% from 2005 to 2017 “even as our economy grew over 19 percent.”
Then, in 2018, carbon dioxide emissions increased 2.7%, according to the Energy Information Administration, mostly due to extreme weather and the economy.
Former Vice President Al Gore, who made climate change his signature issue, characterized the decision as a mistake but said there was still reason for hope.
“No one person or party can stop our momentum to solve the climate crisis,” Gore said. “But those who try will be remembered for their complacency, complicity, and mendacity in attempting to sacrifice the planet for their greed.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.