US President Donald Trump began the process of formally withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement on 4 November 2019. The US will be the only country in the world not to be participating in the pact.

The process of withdrawal takes a year and will not be completed until a day after the 2020 US presidential election.  The news comes as France's President Macron and Chinese President XI Jinping prepare to sign a pact in Beijing today that refers to the "irreversibility" of the Paris climate accord.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the climate agreement is an “unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses and taxpayers”.  In 2015 in Paris, the US agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26% below 2005 levels by the year 2025.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi called the move by the Trump administration to pull out of the agreement a “disastrous decision that sells out our children’s future”.

Mr Trump's approach to the climate crisis has been either to ignore or deny it.  All of the leading Democrats running for nomination as the party's Presidential candidate for 2020 have pledged to set the US on a path to net zero emissions by 2050.

Former Vice-President and leading climate campaigner Al Gore said that even if the US does withdraw from the Paris agreement, "it would take just 30 days for a new president to get us back in."

The commencement of the US withdrawal comes on the same day that a group of over 11,000 scientists from 153 countries published a statement in Bioscience in which they declared that the world was facing a climate emergency.

Photo: grinvalds/

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