WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of nine Republican lawmakers urged President Donald Trump to keep the United States in the 2015 Paris climate agreement but to reduce its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions, as Trump advisors were set on Thursday to discuss whether to leave the pact.
Representative Kevin Cramer of oil-producing North Dakota and eight other members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Trump urging him to use the country’s “seat at the Paris table to defend and promote our commercial interest, including our manufacturing and fossil fuel sectors.”
If the United States is to stay in the 2015 agreement, Washington should present a new emissions cutting pledge that “does no harm to our economy,” the letter said.
Former president Barack Obama, a Democrat, had pledged a 26 percent to 28 percent cut in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels, by 2025. Most scientists say the world needs to curb greenhouse gas emissions to limit the effects of climate change including rising seas, deadly heatwaves, and severe storms and droughts.
White House advisors and Trump administration officials were set to meet on Thursday at 1:30 P.M. EDT (1730 GMT) to hold an initial discussion on whether to stay in the pact.
Trump made cancelling the Paris agreement part of his 100-day plan for energy policy. He later said he was open to staying if Washington got better terms.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former head of Exxon Mobil and Energy Secretary Rick Perry have said the country should remain in the agreement. Opponents of the pact in the administration include Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator and a former attorney general of oil producing Oklahoma, and Trump adviser Steve Bannon.
Nearly 200 countries struck the Paris agreement to limit climate change by cutting carbon dioxide emissions and making investments in clean energy.
Many global companies such as BP and Microsoft have urged the United States to stay in the agreement to protect their competitiveness.
The lawmakers also said Washington should retain its seat on the Green Climate Fund, which aims to tackle climate change in poor countries, but not make additional transfers to it. The United States pledged $3 billion to the fund in 2014, and Obama gave $1 billion to it, with the last $500 million payment coming in his last days as president.
Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by David Gregorio