President Obama was able to formally enshrine the United States in the agreement through executive measures because he did not impose new legal obligations on the country. The United States already has a number of instruments on the books, under laws already passed by Congress to reduce carbon pollution. The country officially joined the agreement in September 2016, after submitting its request for participation. The Paris Agreement was only able to enter into force after the formal accession of at least 55 nations representing at least 55% of global emissions. This happened on October 5, 2016 and the agreement came into force 30 days later, on November 4, 2016. In a June 1, 2017 televised address in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said, “To fulfill my solemn duty to protect the United States and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement,” adding, “Ultimately, the Paris Agreement at the highest level is very unfair to the United States.”  He said that the agreement, if implemented, would cost $3 trillion in GDP and 6.5 million jobs in the United States.  He added that it would “undermine our economy, cripple our workers” and “effectively decapitate our coal industry.”  He said he was open to renegotiating the agreement or negotiating a new agreement, but European and UN leaders said the pact “cannot be renegotiated at the request of one party.”  Trump also criticized the Green Climate Fund and called it a program to redistribute wealth from rich to poor countries.  Risks are increasing, as these agreements have historically become more ambitious only over time. In other words, the Paris framework is a starting point, no matter how bad, it is not an end point. And the exit from the agreement protects the United States from future violations of U.S. sovereignty and from any future massive legal liability.
Believe me, we have a massive legal responsibility if we continue to do so. In April 2017, a group of 20 MPs from the Right-wing Alternative for Germany, the UK Independence Party and other parties sent a letter to Trump asking him to withdraw from the Paris agreement.  On May 25, 2017, 22 Republican senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, sent a two-page letter to Trump asking him to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement.  This letter was written by Senator John Barrasso, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Senator Jim Inhofe, known for his many years of climate change denial.  Most of the signatories to the letter were elected by states that depended on the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas);  The group of 22 senators had received more than $10 million in election contributions from fossil fuel companies over the past three election cycles.  Earlier this week, a group of 40 Democratic senators sent a letter to Trump asking him to keep America in the Paris agreement, writing that “a withdrawal from America would damage credibility and influence on the world stage.”  Analysis of countries` commitments concludes that, although they bring us closer to the 2-degree target, they are not ambitious enough to achieve this.