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U.S. formally withdraws from Paris Agreement

U.S. formally withdraws from Paris Agreement
Smoke from fires in Northern California lowers visibility of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco as viewed from Yerba Buena Island on October 2. Scientists have linked climate change to an increased risk for wildfires. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 4 (UPI) -- The United States' decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change went into effect Wednesday, exactly one year after the Trump administration notified the United Nations of its intentions to do so.

The exit fulfill's President Donald Trump's vow three years ago to pull out of the accord. He gave formal intent on Nov. 4, 2019, to the United Nations, which required a one-year notice before implementation.

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The American Public Health Association marked the official withdrawal with a statement calling the move "unconscionable."

"Like we said last November when the withdrawal was announced, the move only serves to relinquish U.S. leadership on climate change and ignores the significant risks of a go-it-alone approach to a global threat," APHA Executive Director George C. Benjamin said. "One only has to look at the U.S. COVID-19 response to see how that approach is playing out."

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In 2015, former President Barack Obama and the leaders of 194 countries signed the Paris Agreement, which aims to reduce global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius by pre-industrial levels while attempting to limit the increase by 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century through countries voluntarily vowing to curb the production of greenhouse gases. It also calls for developed countries to support developing countries in their efforts to build environmentally sustainable futures.

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Heralded internationally as a success for the environment, the deal has come under criticism, particularly by Trump, who said it disadvantages the United States at the benefit of other countries.

"The agreement is less about climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States," he said in announcing his intentions in June 2017 to pull out of the accord. "The rest of the world applauded when we signed the Paris Agreement -- they went wild, they were so happy -- for the simple reason that it put our country, the United States of America, which we all love, at a very, very big economic disadvantage."

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