April 17, 2017 / 5:07 PM / 3 months ago

Trump advisers to meet Tuesday to discuss Paris climate agreement

The Eiffel tower is illuminated in green with the words "Paris Agreement is Done", to celebrate the Paris U.N. COP21 Climate Change agreement in Paris, France, November 4, 2016.Jacky Naegelen/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Advisers to President Donald Trump will meet on Tuesday to discuss whether to recommend that he withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, a White House official said on Monday.

The accord, agreed on by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015, aims to limit planetary warming in part by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Under the pact, the United States committed to reducing its emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.

Trump has said the United States should "cancel" the deal, but he has been mostly quiet on the issue since he was elected last November.

Environmental groups want Washington to remain in the Paris agreement, even if the new administration weakens U.S. pledges.

A White House official said Trump's aides would "discuss the options, with the goal of providing a recommendation to the president about the path forward."

The meeting comes before a summit of the Group of Seven wealthy nations in late May, the deadline for the White House to take a position.

White House officials, led by the National Economic Council, have recently been asking publicly traded energy companies for advice on whether to stay in the agreement.

Peabody Energy has consulted with White House officials, and Cloud Peak Energy Inc confirmed to Reuters it had told White House advisers it was in its interests for the United States to remain in the agreement to ensure there was a global role for high-efficiency coal plants.

On Monday, liquified natural gas exporter Cheniere Energy sent a letter to George David Banks, who handles international energy issues at the NEC, to recommend remaining in the Paris agreement so "the United States can leverage competitive advantages in natural gas and energy technology."

The advisers expected to attend Tuesday's meeting include Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Perry, a former Texas governor, at his confirmation hearings in January softened a previous position that the science behind climate change was "phony."

Last week, Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general, said the United States should exit the agreement because it was a "bad deal" for the country.

Justin Guay, climate program officer for the Packard Foundation, said countries like China and India would continue to shift toward clean energy even if the United States retreated, adding: "It is most important that the U.S. stays at the table."

Reporting by Steve Holland and Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Andrew Hay and Peter Cooney

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