US tells UN climate conference: ‘We continue to be a leader’ on clean energy

US tells UN climate conference: ‘We continue to be a leader’ on clean energy
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A State Department official on Thursday called the United States a “leader” on clean energy issues and told United Nations delegates the U.S. is still committed to global climate work, despite President Trump’s opposition to the Paris climate agreement.

“Although [Trump] has indicated that the United States intends to withdraw at the earliest opportunity, we remain open to the possibility of rejoining at a later date under terms more favorable to the American people,” Judith Garber, an acting assistant secretary of State, said at a plenary session of the Bonn, Germany, climate talks.

Garber said the U.S. is committed to “universal access to affordable and reliable energy” and that it would support “a balanced approach to climate mitigation, economic development, and energy security that takes into consideration the realities of the global energy mix.”

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Garber did not speak about the threat climate change poses to her country, a subject for many of the officials speaking before the U.N. conference this week.

Instead, she emphasized the United States' work on clean energy and carbon emissions reduction. She also highlighted the way the U.S. has worked with other nations on clean energy issues, including through technological research and deployment in Africa and the Caribbean.

“Irrespective of our views on the Paris Agreement, the United States will continue to be a leader in clean energy and innovation, and we understand the need for transforming energy systems," she said.

Garber’s statement comes near the end of the United Nation's annual climate summit, the first held since Trump said this summer he would pull the U.S. out of the landmark Paris climate agreement.

After Syria signed on to the accord earlier this month, the U.S. became the only nation not supporting it.

The U.S. has emphasized its support for nuclear power and emissions curbs for fossil fuel energy at the conference, while a group of Democrats has told delegates there is still support for the Paris agreement in the United States outside the Trump administration.