Trump administration delays Paris climate agreement decision

The White House had previously said a decision would be reached before Trump's appearance at the summit.

But the White House postponed a key meeting scheduled for Tuesday that could have determined the fate of the 196-nation accord, and hours later said there would be no decision before the end of the month. Halstead co-authored an opinion piece that ran in the New York Times Tuesday, titled "The Business Case for the Paris Climate Accord".

Trump is expected to make a decision soon, and news reports suggest the president will make good on his campaign pledge to withdraw from the Paris agreement.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump is continuing to hear from advisers on the pros and cons of the United States remaining in the global accord.

Aides says he is moving toward a decision whether to honor the 2015 deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming, including a USA pledge to reduce its pollution over the coming decade.

That team is composed of clashing parties with very different views, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who wants the United States to ditch the Paris agreement, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who says the nation should remain a party and continue to negotiate with global partners about how it will address climate change.

A meeting for top advisers to discuss the deal was set for Tuesday afternoon but was postponed.

"Having been intensely involved in such negotiations for a long time, there can be no doubt that Paris is utterly nonbinding, and therefore, each country is free to adjust their pledges in accordance with their own national circumstances", said James Connaughton, who headed up the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President George W. Bush.

Almost 200 countries signed onto the Paris Agreement in December 2015 and it became a cornerstone for President Barack Obama's environmental legacy. "That's the short answer to the issue about the United States".

Meanwhile, Trump aides are openly airing their differences on the issue and a final decision on the United States stance is expected soon. The official requested anonymity to discuss private conversations.

The Trump administration has already proposed slashing funds for the United Nations climate science panel, for the Green Climate Fund that helps poor countries combat global warming, and for the United Nations climate forum under whose auspices the negotiations take place.

One option said to be under consideration is full withdrawal, which would fulfill Trump's campaign promise to "cancel" the deal as president.

Mr Tillerson is a former Exxon executive and has yet to appoint deputies in the State Department on a range of issues including climate change, though has said he thinks climate change is real. He repeatedly sued the EPA over restrictions on extracting and burning fossil fuels.

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