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Trump administration files official notice of withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord

Trump administration files official notice of withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord

Meanwhile, a former California Governor launches his own climate change project.

Public Domain Photo/Dept. of Defense

Legal Insurrection readers will recall President Donald Trump’s address earlier this summer, in which he outlined all the reasons he was withdrawing the United States from the international climate agreement his predecessor signed in Paris.

The U.S. Department of State has now officially filed notice to begin the formal process of withdrawal from the Paris accord.

Today, the United States submitted a communication to the United Nations, in its capacity as depositary for the Paris Agreement, regarding the U.S. intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement as soon as it is eligible to do so, consistent with the terms of the Agreement. As the President indicated in his June 1 announcement and subsequently, he is open to re-engaging in the Paris Agreement if the United States can identify terms that are more favorable to it, its businesses, its workers, its people, and its taxpayers.

The United States supports a balanced approach to climate policy that lowers emissions while promoting economic growth and ensuring energy security. We will continue to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions through innovation and technology breakthroughs, and work with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently and deploy renewable and other clean energy sources, given the importance of energy access and security in many nationally determined contributions.

Like many divorces, this one is going to be filled with paperwork and tedious delays.

The notice, which will be released by the State Department and transmitted by the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, will be the first written notice that the administration plans to pull out of the 2015 pact, which has won the support of nearly 200 nations.

….Under the terms of the Paris deal, the U.S. can’t fully withdraw until Nov. 4, 2020 — one day after the next presidential election. The next president could decide to rejoin the agreement if Trump doesn’t win a second term.

I suspect that the dramatic economic upswing being experienced in this country, in part due to President Trump’s removal of business-crushing regulations, will give voters much impetus to re-elect him so that the process of withdrawal is allowed to come to completion.

The upside to this timeline? The agreement is non-binding so American compliance is optional during these next few years. Additionally, the administration still intends to participate in upcoming international climate conferences, as stated in the State Department notice.  And  Trump indicates he is still open to considering new terms.

Initial reports on the withdrawal notice did not say whether it will address Trump’s stated goal of renegotiating the terms of the climate change deal, although he has said he is fine if it’s not possible to negotiate new terms.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. Trump in announcing his intention to withdraw from the deal said he was open to discussing a new climate deal with Democrats.

…Trump said the Democrats’ opinions on Trump’s renegotiation strategy will have to coincide with what he considers a fair deal under any climate agreement. He views the climate agreement to be anathema to his pro-growth America First agenda, citing an industry -study that showed the economy would lose $3 trillion in GDP and 6.5 million industrial sector jobs by 2040.

“I’m willing to immediately work with Democratic leaders to either negotiate our way back into Paris, under the terms that are fair to the United States and its workers, or to negotiate a new deal that protects our country and its taxpayers,” Trump said.

After Trump’s June announcement, California Governor Jerry Brown rushed to set-up an international climate agreement involving the Golden State and China. In the wake of this announcement, a former California governor is making his own move against the Trump administration’s environmental policies.

Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday unveiled an environmental initiative to answer President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accords.

Called the Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook, it is a searchable database of environmental bills and laws designed to help legislators create their own climate change laws.

The initiative is a cooperative effort between the Schwarzenegger Institute at the University of Southern California and the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators.

I suspect that Schwarzenegger’s new project will be as successful as his stint as the host of “Celebrity Apprentice”.


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I thought there were laws against States entering into treaties with foreign powers? How do they not apply to California and China?

    Liz in reply to Fen. | August 4, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    It’s an “accord”, not a treaty. That’s the reason why Obama could agree to it and bypass Congress ratifying it.

    Milhouse in reply to Fen. | August 4, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    The Agreements and Compacts clause only applies if it enhances a state’s power at Congress’s expense, not if it doesn’t affect Congress.

Arizona v. United States wouldn’t allow states to set their own immigration policy, but I’m sure SCOTUS will be fine with CA setting it’s own climate policy, right?

    Ragspierre in reply to Matt_SE. | August 4, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Well, yeah…kinda…sorta…

    Kulhifornia has for decades had its own environmental laws that are sort of “above” Federal standards, which is OK.

    Hence you have models of everything from weed-eaters to diesel trucks that are for Kulhiforia and one for everyone else.

    Because immigration and emissions are two cubby-holes. Why is one OK and the other not…? Dunno…

      But we are going to have a bullet train without passengers, our own weather satellite, and clean air for all, which clean air will end at our borders.

        MadisonS in reply to Rick. | August 5, 2017 at 4:35 pm

        So what if it has no passengers? Its main purpose is to burnish Brown’s legacy as a visionary leader of California while he flounders around in his father’s shadow. By the time all of the environmental impact and NIMBY lawsuits are resolved and the engineering and design phase can eventually result in final specifications for track and rolling stock. then maybe, just maybe if this does get built in the next 30-50 years California will be able to show case the absolute best technology of a 1950s era high speed rail system of any in the world!

    Milhouse in reply to Matt_SE. | August 6, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Because Congress doesn’t have plenary power over the climate.

Wow. It takes four years to withdraw from an arrangement/accord/treaty/fantasy the US isn’t even a part of. Good thing we never joined in the first place, or it would take even longer.

    Milhouse in reply to tom swift. | August 6, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Well, the US is as much a part of this pretend treaty as anyone else is. It’s an informal agreement, not between countries but between governments. Nothing compelled Trump to take over 0bama’s place in this agreement, he could have simply said “not interested” and been out of it without any formalities. But he chose to play nice, whether because he was unaware of the other option, or because he decided it’s in the USA’s long-term interests not to blow up this whole internation system that’s grown up of governments making informal commitments and voluntarily keeping them.

So, it appears French President Macron failed.

I see its been asked once, but why is there any procedure at all to withdraw, from an agreement that the United States never signed?

    Milhouse in reply to iowan2. | August 6, 2017 at 11:58 am

    The procedure is internal to the agreement. The USA is not formally committed to this thing, but 0bama signed it and committed himself and his administration to voluntarily abide by it anyway. Trump, on taking office, decided to stick with that; I don’t know why. But having decided to do so, he’s keeping that decision by following its internal procedure for withdrawal instead of just saying “I’m done pretending this thing is real”.

As a general matter, agreements normally have an introductory section, commonly referred to as Recitals, which are statements of the purpose and intent of the agreements, promises, covenants, conditions and warranties appearing in the body of the agreement. In the Paris Agreement some of these recitals have absolutely nothing to do with climate, for example to promote gender equality and eliminate poverty.