The US has told the United Nations it has begun the process of pulling out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that he submitted a formal notice, the AP reports. That starts a withdrawal process that does not become official for a year. His statement touted America's carbon pollution cuts and called the Paris deal an "unfair economic burden" to the US economy. Nearly 200 nations signed the climate deal, in which each country provides its own goals to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases that lead to climate change. "In international climate discussions, we will continue to offer a realistic and pragmatic model—backed by a record of real world results—showing innovation and open markets lead to greater prosperity, fewer emissions, and more secure sources of energy," Pompeo said in a statement.
With a hand-delivered letter, the US is the first nation to pull out of the deal. The rules prevented any country from leaving in the first three years after the Nov. 4, 2016, ratification. President Trump has been promising withdrawal for two years, but Monday was the first time he could actually do it. Trump's decision was condemned as a reckless failure of leadership by environmental experts and activists. "Donald Trump is the worst president in history for our climate and our clean air and water," said Michael Brune of the Sierra Club. "Long after Trump is out of office, his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement will be seen as a historic error." Andrew Light, a former climate official in the State Department, said, per NPR: "If we were a tiny country with small emissions, it wouldn't matter so much. But we're not."
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