United Nations: The United Nations and some of its member states have expressed regret over the US’ departure from the Paris climate accord and said they remain committed to working with all American stakeholders and partners around the world to accelerate climate action.
On November 4, the US formally withdrew from the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, a decision originally announced three years ago.
The UN climate change secretariat — United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) — underlined its commitment to work with stakeholders in the US and beyond, to accelerate climate action, in line with an historic treaty on limiting global warming and curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
“We note with regret that the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement has formally come into effect today,” the UN body said in a joint statement issued alongside Chile, France, Italy and the United Kingdom on Wednesday.
Under the Paris Agreement, countries pledge to take action to keep temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.
Asked about the US withdrawal, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told journalists participating in the regular press briefing in New York that our support, our belief in the need for a strong and active Paris Agreement, remains unchanged.
The Paris Agreement allows for a party to leave the deal at any time after three years from the date on which it entered into force for that state. Withdrawal would take effect one year after the receipt of the official notification. The US, under the Obama administration, acceded to the Paris Agreement on September 3, 2016, with entry into force occurring two months later.
In August 2017, the Trump administration formally notified the UN Secretary-General of its intention to withdraw from the accord as soon as it was eligible.
A letter to the Secretary-General from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dated November 4, 2019 said, “This letter constitutes notification by the United States of America of its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Pursuant to Article 28, paragraph 2, of the Paris Agreement, the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement shall take effect upon expiry of one year from the date on which you receive this notification of withdrawal.”
According to Article 28, paragraph 2, of the Paris Agreement, the withdrawal of the United States took into effect on November 4, 2020, one year from delivery of the notification.
Guterres had called the decision by the US to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change as a “major disappointment for global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote global security”.
“The Paris Agreement was adopted by all the world’s nations in 2015 because they recognise the immense harm that climate change is already causing and the enormous opportunity that climate action presents. It offers a meaningful yet flexible framework for action by all countries,” Guterres had said.
For the UNFCCC and partners, there is no greater responsibility than protecting the planet and the world’s people from the threat of climate change, their statement declared.
The science is clear that we must urgently scale up action and work together to reduce the impacts of global warming and to ensure a greener, more resilient future for us all. The Paris Agreement provides the right framework to achieve this, the statement said.
Next month marks five years since representatives from more than 190 countries met in the French capital and adopted the agreement.
Dujarric said that the UN will co-host a virtual climate ambition summit on December 12, the treaty’s anniversary.
“We know that the commitments made in Paris have not been met across the board. We know that those commitments, given what the science is telling us, need to be increased,” he said.
Recently, two major industrial nations — Japan and South Korea — announced their commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, which the UN Secretary-General has welcomed.
Durjarric expressed hope that this development will lead others down that path .
This year, the UN was forced to postpone its latest global climate change conference, known as COP26, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, next November.
In the interim, the UNFCCC and partners will continue to support greater climate action.
“As we look towards COP26 in Glasgow, we remain committed to working with all US stakeholders and partners around the world to accelerate climate action, and with all signatories to ensure the full implementation of the Paris Agreement, their joint statement said.