U.S. attends meeting on Paris climate accord, still plans to withdraw


MONTREAL, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The United States attended a Saturday meeting of ministers from more than 30 of the nations that signed the Paris climate-change agreement, though the White House issued a statement saying it will stick with plans to pull out of the deal.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump administration officials said the United States would not pull out of the agreement and had offered to re-engage in the deal, citing the European Commission's Miguel Arias Canete.

A Commission spokeswoman told Reuters at the Montreal gathering that Canete - commissioner for climate action and energy - had not said the United States had changed its position on withdrawing from the deal. The White House said that the report was inaccurate.

"There has been no change in the United States' position on the Paris agreement," said White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters. "As the President has made abundantly clear, the United States is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country."

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Reaction to US withdrawing from the Paris Agreement
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Reaction to US withdrawing from the Paris Agreement
A historic mistake. The world is moving forward together on climate change. Paris withdrawal leaves American workers & families behind.
What President Trump did today by withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord is an international disgrace. https://t.co/ZjBMOiABDj
Walking away from Paris treaty is a mistake. Climate change is real. We owe our children more. Protecting our future also creates more jobs.
I applaud @POTUS for putting American jobs & energy first by withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. https://t.co/K3vabFUJq5
Statement on the US' withdrawal from the Paris climate agreements. #parisagreement https://t.co/T4XOjWZW0Q
My statement on Today’s Decision by the Trump Administration to Withdraw from the Paris Agreement:… https://t.co/JkX5gAWiZO
JUST IN: Statement from President Barack Obama on the Paris Climate Accord: https://t.co/hVDrsPFrTH
Every foreign leader attacking Pres Trump over leaving Paris Accord -further proof the deal was one sided and better for foreigners than US
Today, our planet suffered. It’s more important than ever to take action. #ParisAgreement https://t.co/FSVYRDcGUH
Withdrawing from the #ParisAgreement will be devastating to our planet. Paris and Pittsburgh share the same environ… https://t.co/rg5nMkQd6H
As the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our peop… https://t.co/kOIEW44Odh
.@POTUS withdrawal from Paris Accord will forever damage our planet and our standing in the world. There is no Planet B, Mr. President.
On behalf of New York City, I will commit to honor the goals of the Paris agreement with an Executive Order in the coming days.
Disappointed with today’s decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all.
Today's decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.'s leadership position in the world. #ParisAgreement
Trump’s abandonment of the Paris Climate Deal demonstrates once again that he is void of basic business acumen, foresight, or initiative.
.@POTUS is committed to protecting middle class families by dealing another significant blow to #Obama's #waroncoal… https://t.co/c1gbhUcLVl
Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.
We’re disappointed with the decision to exit the Paris Agreement. Microsoft remains committed to doing our part to achieve its goals.
My thoughts on today's big mistake by President Trump to put America last - and the big fight he's started. Lets go. https://t.co/YmgI8FBwhg
Disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.
America Last. A miserable and historic moment. Listening to Trump is listening to an unending stream of lies and bullshit.
Climate change requires a global approach. I'm disappointed in the President's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement #mepolitics
Withdrawing from the Paris accord turns a symbol of American leadership into a symbol of American isolation. Damages our economy & security
By withdrawing from the Paris agreement, Trump has turned the US from a climate leader into a climate deadbeat https://t.co/Lr01W9EBht
Our future. https://t.co/Xu0vH1S5X1
.@realDonaldTrump says that the U.S. is pulling out of the #ParisAccord. He better check his geography because Boston will do no such thing.
The demonstration began after today's announcement. People are concerned about the lack of US leadership jeopardizi… https://t.co/Z0PgBRksPE
Disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.
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President Donald Trump announced in June that he would withdraw the nation from the 2015 global climate pact, arguing that it would undermine the U.S. economy and national sovereignty. The decision drew anger and condemnation from world leaders.

Everett Eissenstat, the deputy director of the White House's National Economic Council who led the delegation in Montreal, declined comment.

Earlier in the day, Canete told Reuters that "They (the United States) have said they don't intend to renegotiate the Paris agreement, but they will try to work on how to re-engage."

The United States used similar language in August, when it submitted a letter to the United Nations formally stating it intended to withdraw from the pact, adding that it would be open to re-engaging if the terms were favorable.

Ministers from Canada, the European Union and other nations told reporters that they expect continued U.S. participation in Paris Agreement talks. The withdrawal process will take until November 2020 to complete.

"While we understand that the U.S.'s position on the Paris Agreement has not changed, we are pleased that they continue to engage," said Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.

Attendees also reaffirmed their strong commitment to the terms of the pact, which was signed by nearly 200 countries and seeks to limit further global warming to no more than 2 degrees.

China's representative Xie Zhenhua said "The Paris agreement should not be renegotiated."

The Montreal gathering precedes larger United Nations climate talks in Bonn where devastation from Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean is expected to pit wealthy countries against small island nations who need help coping with damage attributable to climate change.

Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in the last century, killed dozens of people and caused billions of dollars in damage across the Caribbean and Florida.

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NASA photos show why the Paris Agreement was signed
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NASA photos show why the Paris Agreement was signed

Photographs from the 1940s to the 2000s show the drastic impact of climate change on our planet's glaciers. Here is a photo of Alaska's Muir Glacier, pictured in August 1941 (left) and August 2004 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

Here's the snow that remained on Matterhorn Mountain in Switzerland in August 1960 (left), compared with August 2005 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

Starting in the 1970s, NASA began using satellite images to document deforestation in several national parks around the world. Here's Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda in 1973 (left), compared with the park in 2005 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

The deforestation of Argentina's Salta Forest is starkly visible in this pair of photos from 1972 (left) and 2009 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

More deforestation is visible in Kenya's Mau Forest in these photos from January 1973 (left) and December 2009 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

A similar story applies to Kenya's Lake Nakuru National Park, shown here in 1973 (left) and 2000 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

Deforestation is also prevalent in the South American Atlantic Forest in Paraguay — here's how it looked in 1973 (left) versus 2008 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

This area of Rondonia, Brazil was heavily deforested between 1975 (left) and 2009 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

So was the Baban Rafi Forest in Niger, from 1976 (left) to 2007 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

These images show the deforestation of Mount Kenya Forest in Kenya, 1976 (left) vs. 2007 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

Climate change began to take a more extreme toll on glaciers in the 1970s as well. Here is a photo of Qori Kalis Glacier in Peru in 1978 (left) and again in 2011 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

These images document melting ice in Ecuador, from March 1986 (left) to February 2007 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

Beginning in the 1980s, NASA also documented shrinking lakes across the globe, starting with this photo of Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado in 1987 (left). The same park is shown in 2011 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

The Aral Sea in Central Asia shrunk drastically between 2000 (left) and 2014 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

So did the Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico. Here it is in 1994 (left) and again in 2013 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

Rivers have been shrinking in Arizona and Utah as well — these images compare them in March 1999 (left) and May 2014 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

Argentina's Mar Chiquita Lake shrunk significantly from 1998 (left) to 2011 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

And deforestation continued to take a toll as time went on, as evidenced by this pair of images of the Mabira Forest in Uganda in 2001 (left) and the same area just 5 years later (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

Droughts have affected the US intensely over the past few years as well. Here are three images of water drying up in Kansas, taken in 2010 (left), 2011 (middle), and 2012 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

Iran's shrinking Lake Urmia is pictured below in July 2000 (left) and again in the same month in 2013 (right).

Photo Credit: NASA

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