A senior U.S. diplomat says Washington will continue to take part in talks about implementing the Paris climate accord, despite President Donald Trump's threat to pull out of the pact.
Trump announced in June that the United States will withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement unless he can get a better deal for the United States.
Trigg Talley, the U.S. deputy special envoy for climate change, told delegates at the opening of the U.N. climate talks in Bonn, Germany, on Monday that "we will continue to participate in international climate change negotiations and meetings, including ongoing negotiations related to guidance for implementing the Paris agreement."
He added: "We look forward to working with colleagues and partners to advance the work here over these two weeks and beyond."
Germany's environment minister is declaring that the Paris accord to combat climate change is "irreversible" as negotiators gather to discuss how to implement the agreement.
The two-week meeting that started Monday is the first major conference on climate change since President Donald Trump said that the U.S. will pull out of the Paris accord unless his administration can secure a better deal. Other nations are vowing to press ahead with the accord.
German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks told negotiators that "we have to make significant progress on implementing the Paris agreement here."
She added: "The Paris agreement is irreversible. We now have to do everything in our power to implement it and we do not have much time left."
The U.N.'s weather and climate agency says 2017 is set to become the hottest year on record, apart from those impacted by the El Nino phenomenon.
The World Meteorological Organization says this year is already on track to be one of the three hottest years of all time, after 2015 and 2016. Those were both affected by a powerful El Nino, which can contribute to higher temperatures. Last year set a new record for the average global temperature.
The warning was timed for the start on Monday of the latest U.N. climate change conference, in Bonn, Germany.
WMO says key indicators of climate change such as rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, rising sea level and acidification of oceans "continue unabated" this year.
It said the global mean temperature from January to September this year was about a half-degree Celsius warmer than the 1981-2010 average.
Fiji's prime minister has told climate negotiators that "the need for urgency is obvious" as diplomats opened talks on implementing the Paris agreement to fight climate change.
Prime Minister Voreqe 'Frank' Bainimarama, who is chairing the two-week meeting in the German city of Bonn, offered greetings "from one of the most climate-vulnerable regions on earth" as he addressed the conference Monday.
Bainimarama said nations should "meet our commitments in full, not back away from them."
He didn't refer directly to President Donald Trump's announcement that the U.S. will pull out of the Paris climate accord unless his administration can secure a better deal.
But Bainimarama says "the only way for every nation to put itself first is to lock arms with all other nations and move forward together."
Diplomats and activists have gathered in Germany for two-week talks on implementing the Paris agreement to fight climate change.
Environmental groups staged protests in the western city of Bonn and at a nearby coal mine ahead of the meeting to highlight Germany's continued use of heavily polluting fossil fuels.
The 23rd conference of the parties, or COP23, will be opened Monday by Fiji's Prime Minister Voreqe 'Frank' Bainimarama. The Pacific island nation is already suffering the impacts of global warming.
Negotiators will focus on thrashing out some of the technical details of the 2015 Paris accord, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
While President Donald Trump has expressed skepticism, a recent U.S. government report concluded there's strong evidence that man-made climate change is taking place.
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