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US to officially withdraw from Paris Global Climate Agreement

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US to officially withdraw from Paris Global Climate Agreement

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Photo: Anna Moneymaker/ New York Times

The US will today officially withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

Upon first signing the agreement, the US pledged to lower carbon emissions by 26-28% of 2005 levels—a rate determined by its contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions and level of economic development. Yet, early on in his term, President Donald Trump railed against the pledge, arguing that it was unfair to the US, and initiated the US’s withdrawal from the agreement in June 2017. The administration has since eliminated a swath of environmental regulations, including those related to emission standards and fossil fuel extraction on public land.

The US’s position on the agreement will depend on the winner of the presidential elections. Democratic candidate Joe Biden—who was vice president when the US first joined—has committed to re-joining the agreement on his first day in office. He has also promised to spend nearly $2 trillion on renewable energy production, climate research, and decarbonizing efforts. In contrast, analysts believe a second Trump term would effectively prevent the world from limiting a 2C rise in global temperatures. A lack of action by the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter and a continued vacuum of US leadership would likely result in an insufficient global response to climate change by influencing other nations to abandon or significantly scale back their commitments.

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