The Donald Trump administration has issued its first written notification that the US intends to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, a media report said on Saturday.
However, in the notice to the UN on Friday the US State Department said Washington would remain in the talks process, the BBC reported.
“Today, the US submitted a communication to the UN in its capacity as depositary for the Paris Agreement regarding the US intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement as soon as it is eligible to do so,” the US statement read.
“The US will continue to participate in international climate change negotiations and meetings… to protect US interests and ensure all future policy options remain open to the administration.”
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.
Friday’s announcement was seen as largely symbolic as no nation seeking to leave the pact can officially announce an intention to withdraw until November 4, 2019, the BBC report said.
The process of leaving then takes another year, meaning it would not be complete until just weeks after the US presidential election in 2020. Any new US President could then decide to rejoin the agreement.
In June, Trump had also indicated he was open to another climate deal “on terms that are fair to the US”.
However, key signatories to the accord quickly ruled that out. The Paris Agreement took decades to finalise.
The US stance on climate change also caused divisions at the July G20 summit in Germany, the BBC