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Trump administration delays Paris climate agreement decision

Trump administration delays Paris climate agreement decision

A meeting of his advisers that had been scheduled for Tuesday was postponed due to scheduling conflicts, a White House Official said.

President Donald Trump vowed during his lengthy run for the White House to cancel USA involvement in the accord reached by 196 nations, but since assuming power has wavered. Obama committed the United States to reduce carbon emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025.

One option said to be under consideration is full withdrawal, which would fulfill Trump's campaign promise to "cancel" the deal as president. But an ongoing argument over the fate of the 2015 Paris climate accord has spilled into unusually public view as top advisers to the President near a decision on withdrawing from the landmark pact.

Though the Obama administration officially ratified the agreement in 2016, it did so under the authority of an "executive agreement", bypassing the two-thirds Senate vote needed to approve treaties.

The Paris climate agreement may be better without the United States given the president's skepticism on the issue, worldwide experts said. The official requested anonymity to discuss private conversations.

The new administration has already moved to cut funding for climate bodies including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat hosting the annual negotiations.

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"So there is room for a new United States administration to chart its own path as well", said European Union climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete. He repeatedly sued the EPA over restrictions on extracting and burning fossil fuels.

In April, a group of multinational companies including Apple, DuPont, BP and Shell sent a letter "expressing our support for continued participation by the United States in the Paris climate change agreement".

Like Trump, Pruitt has questioned the consensus of climate scientists that man-made carbon emissions are the primary driver of global warming. She has not, however, spelled out any administration initiatives for combating climate change.

A State Department official told AFP: "We are focused on ensuring that decisions are not taken at these meetings that would prejudice our future policy, undermine the competitiveness of USA businesses, or hamper our broader objective of advancing U.S. economic growth and prosperity".

Under President Obama, the United States led the efforts to get countries to sign the agreement, pushing China and India, two of the world's major air polluters, to join it at the top of the ticket - President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were among the leading lights at the signing in December 2015. Yates said it was clear from news reports that Flynn had explained his transition contacts with the Russian ambassador to Vice President Pence in a way that was not backed up by evidence gathered by U.S. Intelligence, and that the Russians obviously knew that as well.

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