US backers of Paris accord set up camp at UN climate talks

A file photo of a camp set up by the US Climate Action Center in the Polish city of Katowice during the UN climate talks.

Hundreds of US cities, states, businesses and churches have set up a camp at the UN climate talks in Poland in an effort to show that many people in the United States remain committed to curbing global warming despite the stance of US President Donald Trump.

The symbolic move took place Friday during the opening of the US Climate Action Center alongside pavilions from Britain, Poland and New Zealand, The Associated Press reported.

The Climate Action Center is a network representing a coalition of more than 3,500 US mayors and governors, as well as business and faith leaders from all 50 states, who are seeking to stem the causes of climate change.

It was in contrast with the low-key presence of the official US government delegation at the two weeks of talks in the Polish city of Katowice.

Envoys from the Trump administration, have set up a cubicle away from the main concourse. They currently have one public event planned Monday promoting US technological innovations.

Last year, Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from the landmark 2015 Paris climate change agreement.

The Climate Action Center is backed by a group called "We Are Still In" that wants to maintain the Paris climate deal's aim of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

California billionaire Tom Steyer, who is considered a possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said the United States has to be a leader in tackling global climate change.

He urged environmental activists not to lose sight of the wider concerns of American voters in the coming years if they want political change.

"The way that we're going to win on climate is not by talking exclusively about climate but by being in coalition with people across the board on justice," he said.

Negotiators from almost 200 countries have little time left to bridge their differences before ministers arrive at the UN talks in Katowice next week for a final frantic round of diplomacy.

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