Trump Won’t Appoint A ‘Climate Change’ Envoy

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

The Trump administration will not appoint a “special envoy for climate change” to represent the U.S. at international climate summits, according to one official.

An anonymous administration official told Politico “the president will not name a special envoy for climate change.” The position was created by the Obama administration to represent the U.S. at United Nations climate summits and other events.

The White House’s refusal to name a climate envoy comes after they proposed cutting the Department of State’s budget 37 percent, including eliminating funding for global warming programs overseas.

The State Department’s website says the climate envoy is “responsible for developing, implementing, and overseeing U.S. international policy on climate change.” The department specifically mentions the envoy’s role in the “negotiations in Paris at the 21st Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (COP21).”

“Already, State’s political appointees have largely ceded their work on international climate issues to the White House, according to two people briefed on the arrangement, a move that gives warring factions in the West Wing heavy influence over whether the United States should pull out of the Paris deal,” Politico reported.

The last climate envoy was Dr. Jonathan Pershing, an Energy Department official. Pershing previously worked for the environmental group, the World Resources Institute, and as a top official at the International Energy Agency.

The deal that came out of Paris, the so-called Paris agreement, relies on individual countries to set their own targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. President Barack Obama pledged to reduce U.S. emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025.

China and India, on the other hand, will increase their emissions. China said its emissions will “peak” in 2030, but there’s not a lot of info on what that really means. The Paris agreement went into force in 2016.

“The Paris Agreement is the most ambitious climate accord ever negotiated, and its rapid entry into force demonstrates the commitment and urgency of the international community to work together as it grapples with the growing threat of climate change,” reads the State Department’s website.

Trump promised to pull out of the Paris agreement on the campaign trail, but his administration is split on whether or not to keep that pledge. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, for example, favors staying party to the Paris agreement, while White House Chief Strategist Steven Bannon favors ditching the deal.

Texas Republican Rep. Kevin Brady recently circulated a letter asking lawmakers to join in urging Trump to stay in the Paris agreement, but with weaker emissions targets and subsidies for clean coal.

At least three major U.S.-based coal companies want Trump to stay in the Paris agreement.

“Without U.S. leadership, the failed international policies that have characterized the past twenty-five years will continue to predominate,” Cloud Peak Energy CEO Colin Marshall wrote in a recent letter to Trump.

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