The Trump administration has taken another step towards exiting the Paris climate agreement, notifying the UN of its decision to leave the deal even as it pledges to stay engaged on the issue of climate change.
"Today, the US submitted a communication to the UN regarding the US intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement as soon as it is eligible to do so," the State Department said in the notice to the UN.
"The US 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 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," the statement added.
The notification comes two months after President Donald Trump announced his intention to leave the accord, fulfilling a campaign promise and rejecting appeals from world leaders to stay in the deal.
World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research organisation in the US which seeks to create equity and prosperity through sustainable natural resource management, said the move will hurt the quality of life of American citizens.
"...Trump's decision to leave the Paris climate deal will hurt US economic opportunity today and the quality of life for American citizens tomorrow," said Andrew Steer, President and CEO of WRI.
"... When it comes to climate, the US administration is out-of-step with the majority of Americans and the rest of the world. The letter leaves open the possibility of 'reengaging' in the Paris agreement. If the Trump administration is serious about reengaging, a great place to start would be to cut taxes on labour and investment and replace the lost revenue with a fee on carbon emissions. This would increase jobs, boost clean technology and exports, and sharply reduce death and illness from air pollution," Steer added.
"At this moment the US is still a party to the Paris Agreement and could engage constructively in those negotiations on issues such as transparency. But a climate loner that is intent on withdrawing from the agreement will not be listened to if it aims to weaken the accord in any way," Steer opined.
Currently, all but two nations -- Syria and Nicaragua -- are signatories to the Paris accord. The State Department indicated it will remain somewhat engaged on issue of climate change, announcing plans to participate in a major international climate conference in November.
The US President drew international condemnation in June when he first announced his intention to withdraw. He said the deal "punished" the US and would cost millions of American jobs.
The latest move is largely symbolic as no nation seeking to leave the pact can officially announce an intention to withdraw til November 4, 2019. The process of leaving then takes another year, meaning it would not be complete until just weeks after the US presidential election in 2020.