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Paris Accord Has Just Lost a Big Member

United States has formally left Paris Agreement, which is trying to curb global warming
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 4, 2020 6:52 AM CST

(Newser) – The United States on Wednesday formally left the Paris Agreement, a global pact forged five years ago to avert the threat of catastrophic climate change. The move, long threatened by President Trump and triggered by his administration a year ago, further isolates the United States in the world but has no immediate impact on international efforts to curb global warming, per the AP. Some 189 countries remain committed to the 2015 Paris accord, which aims to keep the increase in average temperatures worldwide "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), ideally no more than 1.5 C (2.7 F), compared to preindustrial levels. A further six countries have signed but not ratified the pact. Scientists say that any rise beyond 2 C could have a devastating impact on large parts of the world, raising sea levels, stoking tropical storms, and worsening droughts and floods.

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The Paris accord requires countries to set their own voluntary targets for reducing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. The only binding requirement is that nations have to accurately report on their efforts. The US is the world's second biggest emitter after China of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide, and its contribution to cutting emissions is seen as important, but it isn't alone in the effort. While the Trump administration has shunned federal measures to cut emissions, US states, cities, and businesses have pressed ahead with their own efforts. With the United States outside the pact, however, it will be harder for the rest of the world to reach the agreed goals. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has said he favors re-signing the US to the Paris accord.

(Read more Paris Agreement stories.)

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