Climate envoys meet in Bonn amid concern over US stance

Negotiators are meeting in Bonn, Germany to work on a "rule book" for putting the Paris Climate Agreement into practice, but Trump's threat to pull out of the pact has cast doubts over the talks.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

An activist holds a poster during a demonstration near the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, Saturday, December 12, 2015 during the COP 21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Despite President Donald Trump’s threat to pull America from the Paris Agreement, about 3,000 climate negotiators met in the city of Bonn, Germany on Tuesday, to discuss the nitty gritty of the international deal that was negotiated late last year.

The deal, negotiated by world leaders in November 2015, pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

The 11-day Bonn meeting will focus on drafting a guide for member countries on how to execute the pact and curb fossil fuel emissions. However, fears loom large that if the world's number two carbon polluter, the US, pulls out, it will throw the pact into disarray.

Paula Caballero of the World Resources Institute think-tank said, "There's no question that if the US withdraws it is going to create difficulties ... in the negotiations."

A total of 196 countries are now party to the 2015 climate deal which Trump has threatened to "cancel."

No renegotiation

Despite Trump's public utterances, the US did however send a delegation to the talks, led by Obama-era negotiator Trigg Talley, who declined to comment on their brief.

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 US businesses, or hamper our broader objective of advancing US economic growth and prosperity."

Numerous speakers at a plenary session Monday said that the deal cannot be "renegotiated," a proposal of Trump's Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

While the rest of the world waits, Trump, who calls climate change a hoax perpetrated by China has said he will make his decision before the next G7 meeting on May 26-27 in Sicily.

Salaheddine Mezouar of Morocco, who presided over the last high-level climate negotiations in 2016, said it would be difficult to go against public opinion and the will of the international community. He said he trusted that "the good sense and pragmatic spirit of President Trump and his team" would prevail.

TRTWorld and agencies