European leaders are quietly building a coalition of countries to pressure the Trump administration to not withdraw from the Paris agreement and meeting with White House officials, looking for the right argument to sway the U.S. president.
A coalition led by Germany, France and Italy has reached out to “Canada and China, as well as African, Latin American and small island states,” according to Politico, to form a group of “like-minded” countries to take advantage of a divided White House.
Diplomats have even spoken to White House officials, framing participation in the United Nations climate deal as a boon for jobs. White House energy adviser George David Banks has already met with European officials on the issue.
Reports suggest Banks sides with staying in the Paris agreement, echoing the stances of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner. Banks recently held a closed-door meeting on plans for the Paris agreement with energy industry executives.
This group is pushing a plan to weaken Obama’s climate pledge that could include subsidies to energy companies that use carbon capture and storage technology to capture emissions from coal and natural gas power plants.
White House chief strategist Steve Bannon favors ditching the Paris agreement. President Donald Trump promised to “cancel” the Paris agreement on the campaign trail and is working on executive orders to undo President Barack Obama’s climate agenda.
The Paris agreement on greenhouse gas reductions went into effect in November 2016. Obama unilaterally pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025, but the Senate never approved the plan.
Conservatives and skeptical climate scientists have urged Trump to not only ditch the Paris agreement, but to also withdraw from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
They argue there’s little point in staying in either if Trump plans to roll back all the Obama-era regulations to meet the Paris pledge and stop funding UN global warming programs.
Ivanka and Kushner already intervened to strip language critical of the Paris agreement from a pending executive order targeting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) global warming rules.
The move came after UK officials lobbied the Trump administration to stay in the Paris deal, arguing global warming regulations would create jobs. Prime Minister Theresa May, however, did not mention Paris during her visit with Trump earlier this year.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not mention Paris during his recent visit with Trump either.
A Trump administration official told Politico Trump may speak to German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the Paris agreement during her upcoming visit. Though Trump may not say where he stands on the deal to maintain leverage in diplomatic talks with Europe.
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