United Nations climate talks begin in Germany amid uncertainty over U.S. stance

Lauren Perry
May 9, 2017

Tiffany & Co.'s message to the Donald Trump arrives as the president considers whether or not to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement-the first global, legally-binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the dangers of climate change worldwide.

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

President Donald Trump's advisers remain divided over the accord, which won the backing of 195 nations in 2015.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at his Senate confirmation hearing in January he supports staying in the deal.

"Remaining in the Paris Climate Treaty would undermine the Trump administration's efforts to protect American families from unnecessary and burdensome climate regulations", said Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, who served on Trump's transition team.

Instead of keeping their advice to President Donald Trump closely held, the President's advisers have openly discussed their views of the agreement on television and at events.

Ivanka Trump has said she'll focus partially on climate change in her White House role, and helped set up a meeting during the transition period between her father and former Vice President Al Gore, an outspoken climate activist. Obama ratified the accord last September. "That's the short answer to the issue about the United States". The official requested anonymity to discuss private conversations.

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The agreement seeks to brake global warming by curbing fossil fuel emissions.

"To the contrary, the US will be sending a "much smaller" delegation than it has in years past, the official said, adding that they weren't authorized to discuss specifics and requested anonymity from the AP".

But the negotiations risk being hamstrung over fears that the world's number two carbon polluter will pull out and throw the pact into disarray.

Like Trump, Pruitt has questioned the consensus of climate scientists that man-made carbon emissions are the primary driver of global warming.

- United States "waffling" -There has been a chorus of appeals from U.S. and foreign business leaders, politicians and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for Washington not to abandon the agreement.

"As long-term institutional investors, we believe that the mitigation of climate change is essential for the safeguarding of our investments", according to the letter signed by 214 institutional investors and published on Monday.

"To some people, Paris is more than just an environmental deal", a person familiar with the talks said as the debate roiled.

Other reports by VgToday

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