US will play a big role at global talks despite withdrawal from Paris deal

FILE PHOTO: Water vapour billows from smokestacks at the incineration plant of Ivry-sur-Seine, near Paris as the sun rises, France, December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo
Vastavam web: The United States will play a big role at global talks next month on shaping the Paris agreement on climate change, to the dismay of some nations that want Washington sidelined because of President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw from the deal.U.S. officials have said they will be constructive at the annual 195-nation climate meeting in Bonn, Germany, from Nov. 617 to work on a “rule book” for the 2015 Paris plan to shift the world economy from fossil fuels this century.
Washington retains its place in the talks because the Paris pact stipulates that no country can formally pull out before November 2020.“The Trump regime really needs to walk away and not hold the rest of the world hostage to the President’s ineptitude,” said Ian Fry, who represents Tuvalu, a low-lying Pacific island nation at risk of rising sea levels and storm surges.The White House did not respond to requests for comment and the State Department has not set up a briefing ahead of the meeting, as it traditionally has.
This year is on track to be the second warmest since records began in the 19th century, behind 2016. Scientists say rising temperatures will stoke ever more powerful hurricanes, floods and wildfires.Many U.S. allies, including France, Canada and Britain, hope to coax Trump to end up staying in the pact which is backed by all nations except Syria. Nicaragua, which had judged the deal too weak, ratified it this month.
In a sign that most nations are willing to permit a strong U.S. role, an internal U.N. document obtained by Reuters shows that a U.S. official, Andrew Rakestraw, will co-lead a section of the talks with a Chinese counterpart on ensuring transparent rules for the Paris agreement.The meeting will work on a rule book, due to be completed in 2018, for implementing the Paris agreement on issues such as the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and how national emissions will be checked.And many delegates expect the U.S. officials, many of whom were architects of the Paris accord under former President Barack Obama, will contribute to clear, enforceable rules that will be in U.S. interests whether it is in or out of the deal.
“Having the United States at the table with good negotiators who can take this forward is a win-win,” said Paula Caballero, a director of the World Resources Institute think-tank and formerly a climate negotiator for Colombia.The treatment of the United States is likely to hinge on whether Washington limits itself to technical details of the rule book or promotes Trump’s pro-coal political agenda