The low-level U.S. delegation to global climate talks in Katowice, Poland, made waves Saturday night, joining with Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Kuwait in an attempt to weaken support for a United Nations report warning of catastrophic consequences if the world fails to combat rising global temperatures, The Washington Post reports. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report on climate change to coincide with the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), a two-week conference to create rules for implementing the 2015 Paris climate accord.
"The United States was willing to note the report and express appreciation to the scientists who developed it, but not to welcome it, as that would denote endorsement of the report," a State Department spokesman said. "The United States has not endorsed the findings of the report." President Trump, who also downplayed similar dire warnings from a report issued last month by 13 U.S. federal agencies, started withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris accord in 2017, but the U.S. still has a seat at the table until it can formally withdraw in November 2020.
The Natural Resources Defense Council's Jack Schmitdt told the Post that before the U.S. moved "to 'note'" the U.N. report at Saturday night's meeting, "there was going to be an agreement to welcome" it. On Monday, the U.S. is hosting a show in Poland promoting coal and other fossil fuels.
Since the U.S. government released its National Climate Assessment the day after Thanksgiving, the Trump administration has cleared a path for coal-fired plants to evade previous rules to capture pollution and authorized gas drilling on once-protected federal lands. Global carbon-dioxide emissions rose last year, after staying flat since 2014, and U.S. emissions are projected to rise 2.5 percent in 2018, after falling in 2017 and six other years in the past decade, according federal figures. Peter Weber