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UN Receives US' Intent to Formally Withdraw From Paris Climate Agreement


FILE - The Eiffel Tower is illuminated in green with the words "Paris Agreement is Done," to celebrate the day on which the Paris Agreement to fight climate change entered into force, Nov. 4, 2016.

The United Nations confirms it has received notification from the United States about its intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, “unless it identifies suitable terms for re-engagement.”

Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said in a statement that the secretary general “welcomes any effort to re-engage in the Paris Agreement by the United States.”

US to participate in talks

The U.S. State Department said Friday that it will continue to participate in international climate change negotiations during the withdrawal process, which is expected to take at least three years.

It said in a statement, the U.S. participation in the negotiations will “protect U.S. interests and ensure all future policy options remain open to the administration.”

“The United States supports a balanced approach to climate policy that lowers emissions while promoting economic growth and ensuring energy security,” it said.

The department said President Donald Trump is “open to re-engaging in the Paris Agreement if the United States can identify terms that are more favorable to it, its businesses, its workers, its people, and its taxpayers.”

Trump decision

Trump announced his decision to withdrawal from the climate accord in June, saying the deal was “very unfair at the highest level to the American people.” He argued the deal would have cost trillions of dollars as well as hurt American businesses and jobs in the energy and manufacturing sectors.

Guterres said in June that the U.S. decision was “a major disappointment for global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote global security.” The secretary general said it was “crucial” for the U.S. to remain “a leader on climate and sustainable development.”

News of the decision was greeted with strong protests from the environmental community, and the mayors of some of the largest U.S. cities vowed to remain faithful to the accord, regardless of what the Trump administration does.

The United States agreed to the 2015 climate agreement under former President Barack Obama. Under the deal, the United States pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

(An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated in the headline that the United States had withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement; the U.S. formally notified the United Nations of its intention to withdraw from the agreement.)