May 9, 2018, by Alister Doyle
BONN, Germany (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump has yet to outline what changes he wants in a 2015 global climate agreement as the price for dropping his plan to quit, the United Nations’ climate chief said on Wednesday.
Patricia Espinosa said she had asked Washington for its demands after Trump announced last June that he planned to quit the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to end the fossil fuel era this century with a shift to cleaner energies.
“There has not been a follow-up” from Washington, she told Reuters during negotiations in Bonn among almost 200 nations on a “rule book” for the 2015 agreement.
Espinosa, a former Mexican foreign minister who leads the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, said she had stressed that the pact was flexible, allowing all countries to set their own targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“I would not like to see the U.S. leaving. I certainly hope there is a reconsideration of this decision,” she said of Trump’s plan to pull out.
Trump doubts the view of mainstream science that man-made greenhouse gases are raising global temperatures.
The rules of the Paris Agreement mean that Trump cannot formally pull out before November 2020, around the time of the next U.S. presidential election.
In announcing the U.S. withdrawal, Trump said Paris was a bad deal that would harm the U.S. economy, but added: “We will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”
IRAN DEAL WITHDRAWAL “COMPLETELY SEPARATE”
Espinosa said that Trump’s plan to quit the Iran nuclear deal, announced on Tuesday and again demonstrating that he is willing to defy pleas from U.S. allies, did not dim her hopes that Washington might stay in the Paris accord.
“I think these are completely separate … spheres of foreign policy and decision making,” she said.
On climate change, she said Trump might be swayed by an accelerating shift among many U.S. states, cities and companies to cleaner energies from fossil fuels.
Asked if the United States would outline its demands at the Bonn talks, a U.S. State Department official said: “We do not have any new information to share at this time on decisions concerning the Paris Agreement.”
The Bonn meeting, which ends on Thursday, is working on rules for the Paris Agreement due to be in place by the end of the year, such as how to measure and account for greenhouse gas emissions and climate finance for developing nations that is meant to reach $100 billion a year by 2020.
“A good set of rules … should be a way to give comfort and confidence to the concerns they (the United States) could have,” said Espinosa.
Asked if she would be happy for the United States to stay, while watering down deep cuts in emissions promised by former President Barack Obama, Espinosa said: “I think we should not choose between those two scenarios.”
Reporting By Alister Doyle; Editing by Gareth Jones