U.S. envoys told to be coy on re-engaging in Paris climate deal – cable

U.S. diplomats should sidestep questions from foreign governments on what it would take for the Trump administration to re-engage in the global Paris climate agreement, according to a diplomatic cable seen by Reuters.

The cable, sent by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to embassies on Friday, also said diplomats should make clear the United States wants to help other countries use fossil fuels.

Trump, a Republican, had campaigned on a promise to “cancel” the Paris deal, saying he believed it would cost the U.S. economy trillions of dollars while leaving developing nations such as China unfettered. In a sharp difference with the previous administration of President Barack Obama, a Democrat, Trump has several times called climate change a hoax.

The State Department guidance clarifies that right now, “there are no plans to seek to re-negotiate or amend the text of the Paris Agreement.” The diplomatic guidance makes clear that the United States intends to attend global climate summits during the prolonged process of withdrawing from the Paris deal to protect U.S. interests. The next summit is in November.

A U.S. official said a major priority in these talks would be to beat back attempts to have separate standards in the guidance on emissions cuts for rich and poor nations – long a sticking point in negotiations.

(Excerpted from Reuters 8/8/17)