The United States has formally withdrawn from the Paris Agreement on climate change, thereby becoming the first in the world to do so, BBC reports.
Recall that President Donald Trump announced the pull-out in June 2017, but in line with United Nations (UN) regulations, the exit takes effect today, November 4.
The rule is that a country can only give notice to withdraw after three years from the date of ratification. Such member must also issue a 12-month notice period to the UN.
The 2015 agreement seeks to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.
The deal wants global temperature below 2C above pre-industrial levels.
At the time the US electioneering campaign was going on, Democratic candidate, Joe Biden promised that America would re-join the accord if he is elected President.
Andrew Light, a climate change official in the Obama administration, opposed Trump’s decision.
“Being out formally obviously hurts the US reputation. This will be the second time that the United States has been the primary force behind negotiating a new climate deal. With the Kyoto Protocol we never ratified it, in the case of the Paris Agreement, we left it”, he said.
Carlos Fuller, lead negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States in the UN talks, described the withdrawal as a big blow to the agreement.
“We actually worked very hard to ensure that every country in the world could accede to this new agreement. And so, by losing one, we feel that basically we have failed”, he declared.
But former UN climate chief, Yvo De Boer, placed the blame on former President, Barack Obama.
“What Obama did at the end of his second term was fundamentally undemocratic; to sign up to a Paris Agreement without going to the Senate and the Congress and instead doing it via executive order. In a way, you’re setting yourself up for what has happened now”, he said.