U.S. aims to pro­mote use of fos­sil fuel

The Witness - - NEWS -

WASH­ING­TON — The United States hopes to pro­mote wider use of fos­sil fu­els at a global meet­ing on cli­mate change next week, a White House of­fi­cial said, re­flect­ing the gap­ing di­vide be­tween Wash­ing­ton and the rest of the world on the is­sue of global warm­ing.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion has en­voys at the UN­spon­sored talks in Bonn, Ger­many, even though the United States has de­rided the Paris Agree­ment cli­mate ac­cord and has be­gun a years­long process to with­draw from it. The meet­ing, the Con­fer­ence of Par­ties 23, is in­tended to ham­mer out the de­tails of the Paris Agree­ment’s ef­forts to fight cli­mate change.

While a small State Depart­ment team has been on the ground for tech­ni­cal ne­go­ti­a­tions since the talks opened last week, the ad­min­is­tra­tion is send­ing an­other del­e­ga­tion for the sec­ond week that will in­clude se­nior White House ad­vis­ers.

One of the three main pri­or­i­ties for the ad­min­is­tra­tion will be pro­mo­tion of “univer­sal ac­cess to af­ford­able, re­li­able en­ergy, in­clud­ing highly ef­fi­cient fos­sil fu­els”, the of­fi­cial told re­porters in a brief­ing.

The other two pri­or­i­ties in­clude rais­ing “sup­port for open and com­pet­i­tive en­ergy mar­kets that en­hance en­ergy se­cu­rity and in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy, and de­cou­pling emis­sions growth from eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment”, the of­fi­cial said.

The of­fi­cial, who asked not to be named, de­fended the U.S. fo­cus on fos­sil fu­els at the sum­mit, say­ing that other coun­tries were just “bury­ing their heads in the sand” if they did not en­gage in a con­ver­sa­tion about coal, which con­tin­ues to be used heav­ily in pop­u­lous places like south­east Asia.

As part of the ef­fort, the of­fi­cial said, the White House ad­vis­ers, along with en­ergy com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tives, will lead a side event at the con­fer­ence to­day to pro­mote “fos­sil fu­els and nu­clear power in cli­mate mit­i­ga­tion”.

En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists in Bonn are con­sid­er­ing protest­ing the side event. “It’s a bit of a flash­point,” Camilla Born, of the E3G cli­mate think­tank, said of the U.S. meet­ing.

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