Green group threatens to sue State Dept. over absent climate-change report

Green group threatens to sue State Dept. over absent climate-change report
© Camille Fine

An environmental group on Monday threatened to sue the State Department if it doesn't produce its overdue U.S. Climate Action Report to the United Nations.

In a letter, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) asked Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe Memo: Putin furor sparks new questions on Kelly’s future US steps up its game in Africa, a continent open for business Matt Drudge shares mock ‘Survivor’ cover suggesting more White House officials will leave this summer MORE to produce the seventh annual report on climate change that is mandated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The report was due Jan. 1. 

"The State Department has failed to submit the Seventh Climate Action Report by the mandated due date, much less issue any statements of the report’s preparation, draft texts, and notifications of public comment opportunities for the report’s final issuance — a process that has, in the past, taken over a year," the letter read.

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The report is a requirement for countries that are part of the UNFCCC, which was created with the goal of stabilizing the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Participants, of which the U.S. is one, are obligated to submit “national communications” on their greenhouse gas emission inventories and develop mitigation plans.

This year's Climate Action Report would need to contain both the national communication and a biennial report, according to the letter sent by the CBD. 

"Accordingly, unless the State Department commits to complete these steps expeditiously, the Center for Biological Diversity intends to file suit to compel the State Department’s action to issue the final report for UNFCCC compliance," the letter read.

A State Department spokesperson confirmed to The Hill that the report is forthcoming, saying in a statement Monday, “The State Department intends to submit a National Communication to the UNFCCC. The report is under development.”

The State Department has also yet to commence the public comment period necessary before releasing the report.