The notice has no legal weight and does not begin the process of departure from the landmark climate agreement
On August 4, the Trump administration formally notified the United Nations of its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, explaining that the United States instead plans to work with countries to help them gain access to fossil fuels.
The notice comes two months after President Donald Trump delivered a speech at the White House announcing he would abandon the agreement. In August 4’s notice, the State Department said the United States planned to continue to participate in international climate change negotiations and meetings, including the United Nations’ next meetings in November in Bonn, Germany.
“We will continue to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions through innovation and technology breakthroughs, and 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,” the notice reads.
The goal of expanding access to fossil fuels is part of Trump’s new “energy dominance” agenda where his administration will work with fossil fuel companies to turn the United States into an oil, natural gas, and coal exporting powerhouse. The administration also wants to continue to export fracking technology developed in the United States to other countries.
However, the letter sent by the Trump Administration to the United Nations has no legal weight nor does it begin the process of withdrawing the United States from the pact of nearly 200 nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the terms of the Paris agreement, no country can begin the withdrawal process until three years after the agreement enters into force and the withdrawal would not take effect for one year after that date. The Paris agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016.
Therefore, the United States cannot fully withdraw until November 4, 2020, one day after the next presidential election. The next president could decide to rejoin the agreement if Trump does not win a second term.
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