The US became the only country officially to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement as of Nov. 4, 2020, exactly one year after President Donald Trump decided to deliver the exit notification from the agreement.
The Paris Climate Agreement, which was ratified by 189 countries across the world, aims to limit the global warming increase below 1.5°C and tackle climate change.
As one of the biggest emitters in the world, the US with Trump's decision delivered the notification to exit the agreement on Nov. 4, 2019.
A critic of the decision, Helen Mountford, vice president for Climate and Economics at World Resources Institute said in a statement that, "the decision to leave the Paris Agreement was wrong when it was announced and is still wrong today. The climate crisis is a threat to America’s prosperity and wellbeing, and most Americans want the government to pursue the goals outlined in the agreement."
She urged the US to remain with the other 189 parties to the agreement and not go it alone.
"The United States should be at the forefront of global efforts to stave off the climate crisis," Mountford said.
The withdrawal from the agreement officially came one day after the US election in which Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are running for the presidency.
Should the new US administration send a request to the United Nations to re-enter the Paris accord, the country could again be a party to it after 30 days.
Michael Bloomberg, co-chair of America's Pledge, an initiative of actors to fight against climate change said progress was made over the past four years despite the White House’s efforts to drag the country backward.
"The public understands that fighting climate change goes hand in hand with protecting our health and growing our economy," he said.
“Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it," Biden wrote in his Twitter account amid the ongoing counting of votes.
"By exiting the agreement, the current administration has abdicated its responsibility to work with the rest of the world to tackle the climate crisis," according to We Are Still In, a platform for a joint declaration of support for climate action signed by more than 3,900 participants.
The joint declaration of We Are Still In platform affirmed that how soon the US rejoins would depend on the outcome of the presidential election but regardless of who will be in the White House, the platform intends to accelerate local climate action in 2021 and into the next decade.
"No matter the results of yesterday’s presidential election, non-federal actors are ready to continue their now-unstoppable pursuit of a clean, just and restorative economy that would allow us to reach our global climate goals. The action of these local leaders could reduce US emissions up to 37% compared to 2005 levels by 2030," the declaration read.
Dec. 12 marks the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya