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USA in on climate talks as deal pullout floated

09 May 2017

Trump pledged during the presidential campaign to renegotiate the accord, but he has wavered on the issue since winning the presidency.

The agreement requires countries to cut greenhouse emissions on a country-by-country basis, with Obama committing the reduce carbon emissions by at least 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. That option is reported to have become more likely in recent days, after Trump advisors including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt raised concerns that backtracking on Paris commitments might open the USA government up to legal challenges.

The debate between Trump's aides has turned from whether climate change is real to discussions on how the administration plans to position itself at the worldwide negotiating table on global warming. There is now a potential that Trump would withdraw America from the Paris Climate Accord.

He said the United States, under his leadership, dramatically increased the generation of clean energy and curtailed dirty fossil fuel power.

The meeting was postponed because of scheduling conflicts, a White House official said.

The officials requested anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss internal deliberations publicly.

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

And the decision to participate in next week's United Nations climate talks should not be construed as a sign that Trump has chose to stay in the Paris pact, a State Department official added.

"During the course of my presidency, I made climate change a top priority because I believe that of all the challenges that we face, this is the one that will define the contours of this century, more dramatically perhaps than any other", Obama said in a keynote address at the Seeds and Chips summit in Milan, Italy.

In his prior post as the elected attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt closely aligned himself with the needs of the state's oil and gas industry.

Climate negotiators are now meeting in Bonn to start drafting a guide for member countries to carry out the accord.

Mr Pruitt is a chief proponent of leaving the deal and has questioned the science which says humans are contributing to global warming. She has not, however, spelled out any administration initiatives for combating climate change.

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Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change in Europe, which also coordinated the letter, said nations should shift to a low-carbon economy "regardless of what the US administration does".

"It would be hard, crazy, to go against public opinion, against the domestic will, and the will of the worldwide community", Mezouar said in Bonn.

Many major companies, including some of the world's largest energy producers, have stated their support for continued USA engagement in the agreement.

"Global investors are eager to open their wallets to a low-carbon future", said Mindy Lubber, president of CERES, a non-profit organisation that works with North American companies on sustainability projects.

"We must stay in Paris, we must pass on a healthy economy and a healthy environment to our children", Lubber said.

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