Trump administration begins Paris climate pact exit

The Trump administration has formally notified the United Nations that it will withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, the first formal step in a one-year process to exit the global pact to fight climate change, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed on Monday. (Reuters)
Updated 05 November 2019

Trump administration begins Paris climate pact exit

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration said on Monday it filed paperwork to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, the first formal step in a one-year process to exit the global pact to fight climate change.
The move is part of a broader strategy by President Donald Trump to reduce red tape on American industry, but comes at a time scientists and many world governments urge rapid action to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.
Once it exits, the United States — the top historic greenhouse gas emitter and leading oil and gas producer — will become the only country outside the accord.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the step in a Twitter post on Monday and pointed out that the United States had trimmed its emissions https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/inventory-us-greenhouse-gas-emissions-a... in recent years even as it had grown its energy production.
“The US is proud of our record as a world leader in reducing all emissions, fostering resilience, growing our economy, and ensuring energy for our citizens,” he said.
An official from the French presidential office accompanying President Emmanuel Macron on a state visit to China, said: “We regret this and this only makes the Franco-Chinese partnership on the climate and biodiversity more necessary.”
Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping will sign a pact on Wednesday that includes a paragraph on the “irreversibility of the Paris Agreement,” the official said.
The State Department’s letter to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres starts the clock on a process that will be complete one day after the 2020 US presidential election.
All the top Democratic presidential contenders seeking to unseat Trump have promised to re-engage in the Paris Agreement if they win. But the withdrawal could leave a lasting mark, said Andrew Light, a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute and former adviser to the US climate envoy under Democratic President Barack Obama.
“While it serves the political needs of the Trump administration, we will lose a lot of traction with respect to US influence globally,” he said.
The Obama administration had signed the United States onto the 2015 pact, promising a 26-28% cut in US greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 from 2005 levels.
Trump campaigned on a promise to rescind that pledge, saying it would hurt the US economy while leaving other big polluters like China to increase emissions. He was bound by UN rules to wait until Nov. 4, 2019, to file exit papers.
Trump has already moved, however, to unwind a slew of Obama-era rules limiting emissions — including from the electricity industry, automobiles and the oil and gas drilling sector. A report this year by state attorneys general said those rollbacks https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-climatechange-trump/trump-climate... could amount to a boost in US carbon emissions of more than 200 million tons a year by 2025.
Teresa Ribera, Spain’s environment minister, said on Twitter that the formal withdrawal — although expected — dealt a blow to the Paris deal. Spain will host the next round of climate negotiations in place of Chile in early December.
“I deeply regret this decision, which, no matter how it was announced, is no less worrying,” she wrote.

STATE, LOCAL ACTION
Environmental groups also slammed the move.
“The next president will need to rejoin the accord immediately and commit to the rapid, wholesale clean-energy transformation the climate emergency demands,” said Jean Su, energy director with the Center for Biological Diversity.
A report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said last year the world had little over a decade to rapidly reduce emissions from fossil fuels use to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees F).
Beyond that warming threshold, the planet becomes more likely to see dramatic cascading effects of climate change, from sea-level rise to more frequent intense storms, droughts, floods and heat waves, according to the report.
In the absence of US federal leadership on climate change, several Democratic states and municipal governments have sought to apply their own regulations curbing emissions and promoting renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
Alden Meyer, director of policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said states, cities and businesses representing more than half of the US gross domestic product and population remained committed to the Paris Agreement’s goals.
“Unlike the president, these leaders understand that reducing emissions creates jobs and protects local communities, while it is inaction on climate that poses the real threat to prosperity,” he said.
Until its formal exit, the United States will continue to participate in negotiations over technical aspects of the agreement, represented by career State Department officials.
The United States and China, the world’s two largest carbon emitters, have recently been leading negotiations of the Paris “rule book” that outlines transparency and reporting rules.


At least 14 dead as India airliner crashes on landing

Updated 32 min 51 sec ago

At least 14 dead as India airliner crashes on landing

  • The Air India Express plane from Dubai had 191 passengers and crew on board when it overshot the runway
  • There were 10 infants on board

NEW DELHI: At least 14 people were killed and 15 others were seriously injured Friday when an Indian passenger jet skidded off the runway after landing in heavy rain, officials said.
Air India Express said more than 190 passengers and crew were on board the plane, which left from Dubai and landed at Kozhikode airport in the southern state of Kerala.
Television pictures showed part of the fuselage of the jet ripped apart, although there was no sign of any fire.
"I can confirm at least 14 deaths overall. Another 15 passengers have critical injuries. It is still a developing situation," senior local policeman Abdul Karim told AFP.
"We have at least 89 people, many of them with serious injuries, admitted at different Kozhikode hospitals. The ambulances are still coming in," said Sujith Das, another senior police official.
"We have been told that all those who have survived the crash also have some form of injuries."
One of those killed was one of the two pilots, a Kerala state deputy said.
Aviation regulator DGCA said the plane skidded off the end of the runway and "fell down in the valley and broke down in two pieces".
An Air India Express spokesperson said the aircraft appeared to have overshot the runway.
One television channel reported there had been a problem with the jet's landing gear.
Air India Express said in a statement that there was "no fire reported at the time of landing."
It said there were 174 passengers, 10 infants, two pilots and five cabin crew on board the aircraft.
"As per the initial reports, rescue operations are on and passengers are being taken to hospital for medical care," it said.
An emergency services official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP: "Rescue operations are on but the rains are making it difficult."
Television pictures showed emergency services personnel working in the dark and spraying the wreckage with water.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences.
"My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest... Authorities are at the spot, providing all assistance to the affected," Modi said.
The last major plane crash in India was in 2010 when an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 from Dubai to Mangalore overshot the runway and burst into flames.
The crash killed 158 people and left eight survivors.
Kerala has been battered by heavy rains in recent days.
At least 15 people were killed on Friday after a landslide triggered by heavy rains flattened a row of huts elsewhere in the state.
Around 50 other people were feared trapped in the debris. The dead included two children.