Washington formally tells UN of Paris agreement withdrawal


trumpThe Trump administration has officially told the United Nations the US intends to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement.

President Donald Trump announced in June the US would leave the pact, and now Washington has formally communicated this to the UN.

The US State Department described its communication with the UN as a “strong message” to the world, but the move was largely symbolic.

Mr Trump was still “open to re-engaging in the Paris agreement if the United States can identify terms that are more favourable to it, its business, its workers, its people and its taxpayers”, the State Department said.

“The State Department is telling the UN what the President already told the world on June 1 and it has no legal effect,” said Nigel Purvis, a US climate diplomat.

The earliest date the United States can completely withdraw from the agreement is November, 2020, the time of the next US presidential election.

The State Department said the US would continue to participate in international meetings and negotiations on current and future climate change deals.

The next meeting is in Bonn, Germany, in November.

The Paris agreement came into effect in November 2016 and aims to prevent the Earth from heating up by 2 degrees Celsius since the start of the industrial age.

Under the agreement, countries set their own national plans for cutting climate emissions.

That means Mr Trump can come up with different targets for the United States than those set by former president Barack Obama.