The US State Department has left the door open for America to return to the agreement
The US State Department has officially informed the United Nations that it will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
According to the written notification, the US will continue to participate in UN climate change meetings during the withdrawal process – with the door left open to re-engaging if the terms improve for America.
The department has insisted the communication sends a “strong message” to the world.
President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the deal in June, claiming the accord would have cost America trillions of dollars.
The earliest date for complete withdrawal from the agreement is 2020, around the time of the next US presidential election.
The communication comes as scientists warn that extreme weather events will kill over 150,000 people in Europe every year by the end of the century.
Climate change is responsible for 90% of the increased risk, while population growth, migration and urbanisation make up the other 10%.
Tourists travelling in Europe this weekend have been warned of a "dangerous" heatwave bringing temperatures of up to 47C across the continent.
The hot weather - which is travelling from Africa across the Mediterranean - has led 26 European cities to issue weather warnings to residents and tourists.
The communication from the US State Department was played down this morning by former US climate diplomacy director, Nigel Purvis.
"The State Department is telling the UN what the President already told the world on June 1 and it has no legal effect," he said.
Mr Purvis said countries can't withdraw from new international pacts, including the Paris climate one, until three years after they go into effect.
The Paris agreement went into effect on 4 November 2016.
The State Department cited the same timeline, saying it can officially start withdrawing as soon as November 2019.
The department said it will continue to participate in international negotiations on current and future climate change deals.
The next meeting is in Bonn, Germany, in November.
President Trump is "open to re-engaging in the Paris Agreement if the US can identify terms that are more favourable to it, its business, its workers, its people and its taxpayers," the department said.
Under the agreement, countries set their own national plans for cutting climate emissions.
That means President Trump can come up with different targets for the US than those set by President Barack Obama.
Additional reporting from IRN ...