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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump got a step closer to pulling America out of the Paris Climate Agreement by sending a withdrawal letter to the United Nations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in a statement Monday.

Driving the news: While Trump indicated this intention in June 2017, today marks the first day his administration could begin the formal process, which will be completed on Nov. 4, 2020 — a day after the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: While today is more procedural than symbolic in nature, the U.S. beginning the exit process is likely to further dampen the 2015 climate deal's aspirations and remove any slim chance that Trump would ever re-engage on the matter, like he suggested in 2017 he would be willing to.

What they're saying: A White House spokesman didn't comment beyond writing by email that "the president has already announced that the U.S. is not a part of the Paris Climate Agreement."

  • Pompeo wrote on Twitter: "Today we begin the formal process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. The U.S. is proud of our record as a world leader in reducing all emissions, fostering resilience, growing our economy, and ensuring energy for our citizens. Ours is a realistic and pragmatic model."

The big picture: The U.S. is the only country in the world not to support the accord, whose goal is to drastically slash greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades to keep Earth's global temperature from rising 2°C within this century.

Where it stands: The planet's temperature has already increased about 0.8°C since 1880, according to NASA, and the world isn't even close to meeting the Paris goals. In fact, trends are going in the opposite direction. Global carbon dioxide emissions just reached an all-time high.

Reality check: In a Rose Garden speech in June 2017, Trump criticized the accord as a bad deal for America because it allowed China to continue increasing its emissions and because it would hurt the bottom lines of U.S. businesses. But most big companies — even oil producers — say they support the accord.

What we're watching: If a Democrat wins the White House in 2020, he or she would have to submit a letter to rejoin the accord, at which point there is a 30-day delay. The U.S. could then be back into the agreement as soon as Feb. 21, 2021.

Go deeper: Paris + 2: Climate jolted faster than projected

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

In photos: Dozens dead as Israel and Hamas intensify aerial bombardments

People gather at the site of a collapsed building in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes on Gaza City on May 11. Photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images

At least 35 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed as fighting between Israel's military and Hamas entered a third day, per Reuters.

The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 come after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.

Scoop: Stephanie Murphy announcing challenge to Marco Rubio

Rep. Stephanie Murphy. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy is planning to announce a campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in early June, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Murphy is a proven fundraiser. Jumping in now would give her an early start to build her case for the Democratic nomination and potentially force Rubio and allied GOP groups to spend heavily to retain a seat in a state that’s trending Republican.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inside the GOP's infrastructure strategy

Sen. Roger Wicker. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Top Republican senators are hoping the White House will make some sort of counteroffer to their infrastructure proposal when they meet with President Biden on Thursday, lawmakers and their aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is a sign of how serious the negotiations are, they say. In advance of the meeting, some of the senators are already publicly signaling the areas in which they have flexibility.