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article imageOp-Ed: On Nov. 4, U.S. will become only nation to exit Paris Agreement

By Karen Graham     Oct 29, 2020 in Politics
On Nov. 4, the day after the presidential election, the U.S. will earn a dubious distinction: It will become the only country in the world to formally exit the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
When Americans wake up on November 4, they may not know who won the presidential election unless it is a landslide victory for either Donald Trump or Joe Biden, however, there are a couple of things we can all count on: The sun will rise and the United States will have become the first and only nation to exit the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
There won't be any drum rolls or horns blaring - no ceremony at all - from the 189 countries remaining in the agreement. But this does not mean the U.S. departure isn't momentous. On the world stage next Wednesday, new leadership will arise, leaving the U.S. to sit on the sidelines. At least the U.S. will not be totally alone. We will be joining Iran and Turkey, two countries that have also left the agreement.
The United States presented the United Nations with its letter of withdrawal from the Paris climate ...
The United States presented the United Nations with its letter of withdrawal from the Paris climate accord on the first possible date
GEORGE FREY, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File
In 2017, President Trump, surprising no one, announced his intent to withdraw the United States from the agreement. Not surprisingly, no other country followed Trump's lead. Actually, 38 additional countries have joined the Paris Agreement since 2017.
And since that announcement in 2017, Trump has repeatedly promulgated two dangerous lies about U.S. participation in the accord. The first lie: the agreement would come at immense cost to Americans while other major polluters would contribute nothing. The second lie: The U.S. has already exited the accord.
“The Paris Accord, I took us out because we were going to have to spend trillions of dollars and we were treated very unfairly,” Trump said in the extensive climate section of the last presidential debate.
Here are the facts: First of all, Trump didn't formally notify the UN body of the U.S. withdrawal from the accord until November 4, 2019, when the U.S. State Department issued the letter. Seeing as there is a 12 month waiting period after the formal declaration to withdraw, it is easy to see the date chosen to send the letter, knowing it would go into effect one day after the 2020 election, was done on purpose.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese leader Xi Jinping put on a united front on the Paris cl...
French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese leader Xi Jinping put on a united front on the Paris climate accord after Washington pulled out
Ludovic MARIN, AFP
Second fact: On joining the Paris Accord, President Obama’s pledge of $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund for developing nations was to help in their fight to cut emissions. In the long run, this would help the U.S., as well as other nations who have contributed to the fund.
Obama's administration paid $ 1.0 billion by the end of his final term, but Trump damaged the financing deal when he reneged on the remaining $2 billion, undermining American credibility with developing countries trying to transition to sustainable low-carbon economies.
Should Joe Biden win this upcoming election, he can get us back into the Paris Climate Accord by sending a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General. The U.,S. would once again become a party to the Paris Agreement 30 days later, said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.
Around the same time, the U.S. would also need to submit a new national emissions reduction pledge, he added. And, of course, Biden would have to attend the November 2021 Climate Meeting in Glasgow, bringing along a new national pledge to control greenhouse gas emissions.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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