Trump administration won’t answer foreign countries’ climate questions

Trump administration won’t answer foreign countries’ climate questions
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Trump administration diplomats are declining to answer foreign nations’ questions regarding the future of U.S. climate change policy.

In answers submitted to nations like China and Brazil through a formal United Nations process, the State Department repeatedly didn’t provide details about whether or how the country would meet former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaWhat are Republicans going to do after Donald Trump leaves office? Krystal Ball: Patrick's 2020 bid is particularly 'troublesome' for Warren Deval Patrick: Biden 'misses the moment' in 2020 campaign MORE’s climate goals set under the Paris agreement.

“The administration is reviewing existing policies and regulations in the context of a focus on strengthening U.S. economic growth and promoting jobs for American workers, and will not support policies or regulations that have adverse effects on energy independence and U.S. competitiveness,” U.S. representatives said in response to multiple questions from their counterparts, in a document made public late Thursday.

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Obama pledged in 2015 that the U.S. would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025, with an interim goal of 17 percent in 2020, though both targets were non-binding.

Foreign nations repeatedly asked how the Trump administration planned to meet the 2020 figure — the goal at issue in the questioning forum — if Trump continues to dismantle nearly all of Obama’s major climate policies.

“Could the US provide information regarding the steps taken to ensure targets for 2020 can be met?” the European Union asked, yielding the standard answer about reviewing Obama policies.

“Has the U.S. prepared any alternative approaches to mitigate emission of electricity sector in case the [Clean Power Plan] is canceled?” asked China.

Brazil got the answer twice when it asked about what measures the U.S. might take beyond Obama’s to comply with the Paris goals.

President Trump is skeptical of the scientific consensus that greenhouse gases produced by human activity are the main cause of climate change, and he is working to undo Obama’s climate policies.

Trump is also skeptical of international cooperation on climate through the Paris agreement. He previously pledged to pull the United States out of the pact, but the administration is considering staying in it while potentially reducing the country’s emissions cut.