UN climate talks begin amid uncertainty over US position

Cheryl Sanders
May 9, 2017

- Top White House advisers are expected to discuss on Tuesday whether the United States should withdraw from the landmark global climate deal struck in Paris under the Obama administration.

Though Trump's inclination has been to leave the agreement, he's allowed his daughter, White House adviser Ivanka Trump, to set up an extensive review process, a senior administration official said.

Patricia Espinosa, head of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change that is hosting the Bonn talks, said it was important to make progress on the nuts and bolts of the agreement before November's annual climate summit.

Other industrialized nations such as China, France, and Germany each sent dozens of officials - the French delegation alone had 42 official participants.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will host the biennial Arctic Council meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska, later this week.

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".

That interpretation is contested by many legal experts, however, as well as participants in past global climate negotiations.

"We must stay in Paris, we must pass on a healthy economy and a healthy environment to our children", Lubber said. There is now a potential that Trump would withdraw America from the Paris Climate Accord. U.S. officials say the timeline is being driven by the Group of 7 summit, which Trump will attend late this month in Italy.

The resolution comes as reports indicate President Trump is nearing a decision on whether the United States will remain in the Paris Climate Agreement, the largest multilateral cooperative agreement ever reached to address the challenge of global climate change, signed by almost every country in the world.

Ahead of the broader meeting among aides on Tuesday, Ivanka Trump plans to meet separately with Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, who has said publicly over the last month that the U.S. should pull out of the deal.

The Trump administration has already proposed slashing funds for the UN's climate convention, which hosts the negotiations, the United Nations climate science panel, and the Green Climate Fund that helps poor countries combat global warming.

The US has said that it will continue attending United Nations climate change meetings, even though its commitment to the Paris Agreement remains unclear.

"By expanding markets for innovative clean technologies, the agreement generates jobs and economic growth", the companies' letter says.

Joining Kaine on the resolution are U.S. Senators Ben Cardin, Bob Menendez, Jeanne Shaheen, Chris Coons, Tom Udall, Chris Murphy, Jeff Merkley, Ed Markey, and Cory Booker.

After the group published its data report Friday, RogueEPAstaff, a Twitter handle run by activists, posted: "We've heard from teachers who can't access materials they use for their classes".

It is unclear how other nations would react if the US were to withdraw from the deal, but "retaliatory measures" have certainly been mentioned in the past. "He may withdraw America from the Paris climate accord".

Environment groups fear the accord will be undermined if the USA - the world's largest economy and second-largest carbon polluter - cans the deal. That's not enough to hit the 2 degrees C goal, but it is enough to keep global warming at least somewhat under control.

The rulebook must be finished by 2018.

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

President Trump has stated that climate change is a "hoax" created by the Chinese. "It's unfair by any measure".

"The industry campaign to stick with the Paris accord comes amid deep divisions in the Trump administration over the carbon-cutting agreement", Bloomberg reported last month.

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