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US will keep climate commitments despite Trump: ex-mayor of NY
by Staff Writers
New York (AFP) March 31, 2017

Global impact of Trump climate rollback 'unclear': UN
Paris (AFP) March 31, 2017 - The global impact of President Donald Trump's plan to unwind US climate change policies is "unclear" and will only emerge over time, the United Nation's top climate official said Friday.

In an executive order and a budget proposal, Trump has moved to peel back national policies designed to lower US carbon emissions and meet greenhouse gas reduction pledges under the 196-nation UN Paris climate treaty.

"The precise impact on the secretariat and on global climate action linked with these various announcements remains unclear at this juncture," said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN body that shepherded the Paris deal into existence.

The approval of US federal budgets, which must be voted by Congress, "involves long and complex negotiations," she said in a statement.

"I, like many people and organisations around the globe, are watching these developments with interest."

Trump's plan to ease emissions limits for coal-fired power plants and scrap more stringent vehicle pollution standards almost guarantees that the United States will fail to meet its commitments under the UN pact, according to experts.

The president has also said he does not intend to honour promises made by the administration of his predecessor, Barack Obama, to give billions of dollars in aid to poor, climate-vulnerable nations.

But whether the United States will take the additional step of withdrawing from the Paris pact altogether remains open.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that a decision would be made ahead of the G7 summit in Italy in late May.

Espinosa did not react directly to Spicer's statement. But she did noted that the United States "is, and remains, a party to the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement."

The 196 nations parties to the pact, and its underlying convention, will convene in Bonn, Germany in mid-May for technical talks on the agreement's implementation.

"We look forward to welcoming and working with [the agreement's] delegations," Espinosa said.

Should the US withdraw from the Paris accord, it would be a four-year process.

The former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, said Friday the United States will keep its commitment to reduce greenhouse gases despite US President Donald Trump's skeptical outlook on climate change.

"No matter what roadblocks the White House and Congress throw up, the United States can -- and I'm confident, will -- meet the commitment it made in Paris in 2015 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet," Bloomberg wrote in the New York Times.

"Those who believe that the Trump administration will end American leadership on climate change are making the same mistake as those who believe that it will put coal miners back to work."

Bloomberg said that mistake is "overestimating Washington's ability to influence energy markets, and underestimating the role that cities, states, businesses and consumers are playing in driving down emissions on their own."

Bloomberg, a noted environmentalist, said that with or without Obama's Clean Power Plan, which Trump has promised to re-examine and roll back, also half the coal plants in the United States have said they "will close or switch to cleaner fuels."

Consumers prefer cleaner energy that pollutes less, he argued. And the price of renewables like wind and solar is dropping.

"In fact, even if the Clean Power Plan disappears entirely, we would still be in a position to meet our Paris commitment, which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025," Bloomberg wrote.

Certain federal policies cannot be changed, such as vehicle fuel efficiency standards that have been set through model year 2021.

And big cities, which represents two-thirds of US emissions, along with countless private industries are committed to improving energy efficiency without any encouragement from Washington.

"Claims that the United States will no longer be able to meet its Paris obligations give other countries an excuse to walk away from theirs," he added.

"How terrible it would be if a misunderstanding of American climate leadership -- which is not based in Washington and never has been -- led to an unraveling of the Paris agreement."

Trump has not yet said whether or not he plans to stay in the landmark Paris Agreement, a 196-nation treaty that vows to cap global warming as "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to late 19th-century levels.

Trump keeps world dangling on Paris climate pact
Paris (AFP) March 30, 2017
President Donald Trump's plan for gutting domestic climate change policies is now on the table, but his administration left open Wednesday the question of whether it will turn its back on the landmark Paris Agreement. The suspense could last for some time, perhaps until the G7 meeting of world leaders in late May, or even the July G20 in Germany, experts say. In the meantime, business le ... read more

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