The United States missed a deadline Monday for submitting its formal National Climate Assessment to Congress, but a spokesman for U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it was “impossible” to do so now due to the government shutdown.
In keeping with global climate talks, the State Department was upstaged by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a major climate meeting in Poland on Monday when he publicly questioned whether the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris agreement.
During a press conference in the Polish city of Katowice, Mr. Tillerson said he had left his diplomatic papers “half-used” at the White House. He said he didn’t know whether President Trump would keep his campaign promise to exit the Paris climate accord.
“That’s why we’re taking this time to get it right,” he said. “Our plan is to work very hard during this notice period to influence the way that Congress acts and ultimately, I hope Congress will be able to help us with any decisions that they want to make at the end of this notice period on this very, very large undertaking.”
Donald Kohnstein, the acting assistant secretary for legislative affairs, said that the United States did not intend to withdraw from the 2015 Paris accord.
“I don’t think the Trump administration has any intention of withdrawing from the Paris accord,” he said. “I think the Trump administration will be a full part of it.”
The briefing appeared to reassure skeptics of the agreement, as Mr. Kohnstein also confirmed that America had recorded the biggest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, below 1990 levels, in a decade.
More than 170 nations are meeting in Katowice in an effort to gather support for the agreement.