Talks on Paris climate deal underway in Bonn amid US threat to withdraw
A total of 196 countries are parties to the climate deal, clinched in 2015 after years of negotiations.
The Bonn meeting, which started Monday and will last until May 19, is aimed at drafting a guide for member countries to execute the pact, which seeks to brake global warming by curbing fossil fuel emissions.
The treaty came into force on November 4, 2016, and has now been formally ratified by 109 nations representing about 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
However, US President Donald Trump has threatened to cancel Washington’s membership in the deal, which has the backing of governments as diverse as China, OPEC oil producers and the poorest African states.
“We are focused on ensuring that decisions are not taken at these meetings that would prejudice our future policy, undermine the competitiveness of US businesses, or hamper our broader objective of advancing US economic growth and prosperity,” a State Department official said.
The White House postponed a meeting of top aides on Tuesday, announcing that it would be rescheduled amid deep differences among the US administration’s staff over the Paris deal.
“The last thing I heard is that the president, our president, has indicated that he plans to make a decision sometime over the next couple of weeks, but not this week,” said David Balton, US deputy assistant secretary for international environmental affairs, on Monday.
In March, the White House said it would announce ahead of the Group of Seven (G7) meeting in late May whether the US would pull out of the Paris Agreement.
Before his election as US president, Trump had described a global accord on climate change as a plot “created by and for the Chinese” to attack American industries.
Meanwhile, over two hundred major global and American investors have requested G7 industrial countries to compel Trump to remain committed to the Paris pact, saying mitigation of climate change safeguards the investments.
Also last month, G7 failed to issue a joint statement on climate change under the US pressure in the meeting hosted in Italy’s capital, Rome.
The previous administration under Barack Obama prioritized the climate change agenda as the centerpiece of his policies to fight global warming.
In March, Trump signed an executive order aimed at rolling back most of his predecessor’s climate change policies, saying the measure would create jobs in the fossil fuel industry.