On Monday 4 November, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the USA will be formally withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement. This makes the USA the first country to ever attempt to exit the accord. President Trump announced his plans for leaving the Paris agreement two years ago, with official proceedings only just beginning. This is in accordance with Article 28 of the Paris agreement, which states that a country cannot leave the agreement within three years of its official start date in the country (for the USA this start date was November 4, 2016). The official withdrawal will not occur until one day after the US Presidential election next year, and until the withdrawal is formally agreed, the USA still must abide by the rules of the agreement.
The Paris Climate Agreement is an accord within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The agreement was negotiated by representatives of the 196 parties present at the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC. As of March 2019, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the agreement with 187 of those members becoming party to the agreement. It was set up to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. The long-term temperature goal of the agreement is to keep the increase in global average temperature to below 2°C above the temperature before the Industrial Revolution and to pursue efforts to limit the global increase to 1.5°C in order to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. Withdrawing from the agreement means that the USA may no longer be obligated to report its emissions to the UN.
With America being the second largest polluter in the world and withdrawing from this agreement, the question is raised – to what extent will this impact the future of our planet?