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Trump files notice to withdraw from Paris deal, plans instead to promote fossil fuels

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ThinkProgress

The Trump administration formally notified the United Nations of its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement on Friday, explaining that the United States instead plans to work with countries to help them gain access to fossil fuels.

President Donald Trump waves as he walks to Marine One to depart the White House, Wednesday, July 12, 2017, in Washington. Trump is headed to Paris for Bastille Day. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump waves as he walks to Marine One to depart the White House, Wednesday, July 12, 2017, in Washington. Trump is headed to Paris for Bastille Day. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The notice comes two months after President Donald Trump delivered a speech at the White House announcing he would abandon the agreement.

The State Department, in Friday’s notice, said the United States plans 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.

The letter sent 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.

Rather, it is a political document that affirms Trump’s proclamation in June that the Paris agreement is a bad deal for the nation, the New York Times reported Friday.

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.

“It’s clear that Trump and his closest advisers have no idea how this process works nor do they care to do what’s in the best interest of the American people.

If they did, Trump would not have announced his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in the first place,” Sierra Club global climate policy director John Coequyt said in a statement.

Other countries like China, France, and Germany have stepped up in the absence of U.S. leadership on climate action, Coequyt noted.

Since June, the California legislature voted to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program until 2030. The U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted several climate and energy resolutions advancing renewable energy, committing to sustainable infrastructure development, and standing by the Paris agreement.

A network of cities, states, businesses, and colleges have united to declare “We Are Still In,” and provide a platform for local leaders to support the commitments of the Paris agreement.

The movement’s 2,275 signatories represent $6.2 trillion of the U.S. economy, covering nine states, 242 cities, 1,700 businesses and investors, and 315 colleges and universities.

“The State Department note on U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement is disappointing, though not surprising,” Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement.

“President Trump’s abdication of leadership is also clearly isolating the United States on the international stage, as we saw at the recent G7 and G20 summits.”

Half of U.S. voters are against Trump’s environmental policies and just one in four voters favors Trump’s environmental agenda, according to the League of Conservation Voters poll released in June.

The State Department’s notice contains “nothing new” on Trump’s policy, said Lou Leonard senior vice president of climate change and energy for the World Wildlife Fund.

“The good news is the rest of America has already moved on to pick up the mantle of leadership and seize the opportunities of the clean energy economy,” Leonard said in a statement.

Thousands of American CEOs, university presidents, governors, and mayors have decided to fill the gap left by the federal government, he said.

Source: ThinkProgress. Reproduced with permission.  

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  • trackdaze

    Why not? Seems reliance on fossil fuels income have worked a treat for Venezuela

    Sounds like a border adjustment carbon tax on US energy exports is in order.

  • Just_Chris

    The reason that it doesn’t matter that he won’t officially leave for another 4 years is that it is a voluntary agreement. If he is not committed to meeting the Paris agreement targets then it doesn’t matter if he is officially in or out. It only matters if you are committed to meeting your targets and even then it only matters if your own nation has put something in law to keep you honest.

    • André Balsa

      That is mostly true. But the fact remains that President Trump is sending a clear sign domestically and abroad, that the US fossil fuel industries (Koch brothers, oil majors, coal barons and other fossil carbon criminals) will fight to the death to prevent the urgently required decarbonization of our modern economies.
      Yes, it is just political rhetoric, but it’s ominous and the people behind this kind of rhetoric are extremely powerful, own most of mainstream media (Murdoch) and should not be underestimated.

  • Simple Jack
  • “Therefore, the United States cannot fully withdraw until November 4, 2020, one day after the next presidential election.”

    hahaha, it’s almost like they scripted the Paris accords JUST to coincide with that!. In the meantime I’ll just wait for my Model 3

  • Ken Dyer

    Ho hum just another day for superbrand Trump telling lies to appease the great unwashed. Since 2016, coal exports have dropped by 42% in the USA. The major importers of US coal are Canada and Mexico, and these countries are going renewable energy gang busters.

    • Joe

      …but The Wall with Mexico will stop the Coal?

  • Geoff

    Those rust belt red necks are going to be mighty pissed off at Trump when their jobs don’t come back…

  • Joe

    How many Coal Mines and Oil Rigs does The Donnie own ?

    • André Balsa

      The boom in fracked gas and oil in the U.S. occurred entirely during the Obama era (with a bust and the beginning of a recovery at the very end, but that was due to other factors).
      President Trump got the support of a substantial share of the coal miners and other fossil-fuel industry workers by promising them that he would spur a “revival” of the fossil fuel industry (by deregulating these industries and opening further federal land to exploration), during his election campaign.
      But that was all populist rhetoric, as is his “notice of withdrawal from the Paris Agreement”.
      Reality is exactly what it is: the coal mining industry is doomed in the US, and fracking is destroying some of the most valuable aquifers that U.S. farmers depend upon for grain production. Despite the political rhetoric, despite the distractions from mainstream media, and despite all the Koch funded propaganda, sooner or later the majority of Americans will come to realize that the transition to 100% renewables is inevitable and cannot come soon enough.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/060a5c5bce6cfec6cafc4b8af45dc4015ba60f0d305c128cf7231b88aa157899.jpg