Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 13, 2018

Contact: Jean Su, (415) 770-3187,

Trump Administration Sued for Withholding Records on Missing Climate Report

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. State Department today for refusing to release public records regarding the overdue seventh U.S. Climate Action Report. The deadline to submit the report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat passed on Jan. 1.

“After a year of deadly, record-breaking storms, blowing off climate reporting requirements is wildly irresponsible,” said Jean Su, associate conservation director at the Center. “We need to know who or what is holding up this critical report, given the Trump administration’s dangerous record of climate denial and aversion to transparency.”

Today’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, demands records related to the report’s delay and the timeline for its preparation and release. The suit comes after the State Department failed to respond to the Center’s Feb. 1 Freedom of Information Act request by the mandated deadline.

The objective of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to a level that prevents the most dangerous effects of climate change. The United States and other parties to the treaty must periodically submit reports on their greenhouse gas emission inventories and action plans consistent with this objective.

On Feb. 5 the Center threatened the State Department with a lawsuit over the missing climate report. In response to media inquiries about that warning, the Department said it planned to submit the report. However, it has not disclosed any information about the status or timeline of the report’s production.

Under past administrations the launch of the production process was typically announced in the Federal Register up to eight months before the deadline; most previous report drafts were also made available for public review. While tardiness in submitting the report has occurred, the United States’ complete omission of the report would be unprecedented.

The Center’s suit notes that the Department’s failure to submit the report is a violation of the UN treaty and the U.S. Administrative Procedure Act.

The majority of the other parties to the convention have submitted their reports, including the European Union, Germany and Russia. Trump’s intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement does not in any way affect U.S. legal obligations under the convention.

“Escaping the climate emergency will require global cooperation,” Su said. “As the nation that has pumped the most greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere, the U.S. has to play ball. And we’ll fight in court to make sure it does.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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