WASHINGTON: The US has submitted its formal communication to the UN indicating it will withdraw from the historic 2015 Paris climate agreement as soon as possible, the State Department has said.
The communication is in line with the decision announced by President Donald Trump recently, which was one of his key electoral promises.
But according to the terms of the pact, the US can't fully withdraw until November 4, 2020, which would be a day after the next presidential election is held in the US. This means the next US president could still rejoin the agreement.
The Paris climate deal aims to prevent the Earth from heating up by 2C since the start of the industrial age.
The State Department said that the US submitted a communication to the UN, in its capacity as a depositary for the Paris agreement, regarding the US intent to withdraw from it as soon as it is eligible to do so.
As the president indicated in his June 1 announcement and subsequently, he is open to re-engaging with the agreement if the US can identify terms that are more favorable to it, its businesses, its workers, its people, and its taxpayers, it said in a statement.
The US supports a balanced approach to climate policy that lowers emissions while promoting economic growth and ensuring energy security, it said.
"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," the state department said.
However, the US will continue to participate in international climate change negotiations and meetings, including the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP-23) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to protect US interests and ensure all future policy options remain open to the administration, it said.
"Such participation will include ongoing negotiations related to guidance for implementing the Paris agreement," it added.