Story at a glance
- The U.S. will no longer be included in the international Paris climate agreement by midnight tonight, a longtime Trump administration promise.
- The U.S. is the second largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world.
With most of the U.S. anxiously awaiting the results of the 2020 presidential election today, others are looking at another deadline that ends today: the U.S.’s membership in the Paris Agreement.
Politico reports that President Trump will make good on his long-standing promise to have the U.S. leave the Paris Agreement, successfully removing the country from the international climate pledge to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 additional degrees Celsius.
The international accord also has broader goals of limiting the effects of climate change by encouraging investments in more sustainable technologies and infrastructure.
While the United States's membership within the Paris Agreement expires at an auspicious date, the timing is reportedly coincidental; Trump announced the intention to withdraw from the agreement on July 1, 2017, and filed formal paperwork cementing the separation on Nov. 4, 2019.
The decision, initially made during Trump’s 2016 campaign, was controversial; hundreds of scientists with the National Academy of Scientists cosigned an open letter addressed to “the Republican nominee for President” explaining the disastrous long-term consequences of withdrawing membership.
“Such a decision would make it far more difficult to develop effective global strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change,” the letter reads, as reported by The Washington Post. “The consequences of opting out of the global community would be severe and long-lasting – for our planet’s climate and for the international credibility of the United States.”
Speaking about plans to leave the Paris Agreement in 2017, Trump stated that he intended to renegotiate the details of the United States's membership within the Paris Agreement that can better protect U.S. workers in industries like coal, paper, and steel.
"The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production," he said.
The U.S. is the second leading producer of all carbon dioxide emissions globally, behind China.
Democratic hopeful Joe Biden intends to reenter the U.S. into the Paris Agreement if he wins the 2020 election and can reportedly do so with an executive order.