Trump administration delays Paris climate agreement decision

Nettie James
May 11, 2017

White House officials had been expected to soon close an internal debate on whether the US should withdraw or take more measured steps, but a key meeting on the matter scheduled for Tuesday was postponed at the request of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who would have been unable to attend, an administration official said.

White House spokesperson Kelly Love confirmed delay, first reported by Politico, in an email to TPM. In it, they ask him to "please keep the the Paris Climate Agreement", as the "threat to our planet and to our children is too great".

No new date was given for the session, which aims to bring together President Donald Trump - who is flirting with pulling out of the agreement - with top climate and economic advisers.

Trump and his top climate and economic aids will kick-off discussions in earnest on Tuesday in the USA, a senior administration official said, adding that "they are meeting tomorrow at 1.30 pm".

President Trump is expected to make a final announcement by the end of the month.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference kicked off Monday in the western German city of Bonn. Steve Bannon and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, oppose.

The Paris agreement, as structured, has posed a problem to the White House because it is simultaneously nonbinding - so it does not force the United States to adopt a particular emissions policy - and yet it demands specifics.

Espinosa refused to comment on the impact of a possible USA withdrawal from the talks or even the entire climate change accord.

The May 8-18 Bonn meeting is meant to start drafting a "rulebook" to guide member countries in executing the pact, which seeks to brake global warming by curbing fossil fuel emissions.

Widely hailed as the last chance to stave off worst-case-scenario global warming, the Paris Agreement was savaged by a campaigning Trump, who called climate change a "hoax" perpetrated by China.

French president-elect Emmanuel Macron has told his USA counterpart Donald Trump in a telephone call he will defend a climate change deal agreed in Paris in 2015, his spokeswoman says.

As speculation continues about how Trump will handle the agreement, Tillerson is set to travel to Alaska for an Arctic Summit council this week amid concerns from other nations that the Trump administration will undermine global efforts to address climate change in the Arctic, where rising temperatures are having a disproportionate effect.

It was the second time a meeting on the Paris accord was scrubbed; an initial conversation between aides about the future of U.S. participation in the accord was pushed back by a week last month.

China has consistently reaffirmed its commitment to the Paris agreement.

Xi sent Macron a congratulatory note on Monday, following a presidential election victory hailed in the Chinese nationalist tabloid Global Times as a triumph against the "populism trend" bolstered by Trump. He has previously promised to "cancel" the treaty and has described it as a "bad deal" that undermines the USA economy. "I have no doubt about climate change and how committed we have to be regarding this issue", said Macron in the video.

The Obama administration pledged in 2015 to reduce USA carbon output by 26-28% by 2025, but the lynchpin of achieving that goal - closing coal-fired power plants - is under review by the Trump administration and is expected to be scaled back if not eliminated outright.

Other reports by Insurance News

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