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Energy dept. closes office promoting climate efforts abroad

Ng Han Guan / AP

The Energy Department has decided to close an office that works with foreign countries to promote clean energy technology and reduce greenhouse emissions, marking the latest effort by the Trump administration to scale back U.S. climate policy, per NYT.

The Office of International Climate and Technology's 11 agency employees said they were informed their positions were being eliminated right before Energy Secretary Rick Perry took part in the latest Clean Energy Ministerial annual forum in Beijing on June 6, where the U.S., China, India and other countries discussed solutions to climate change.

Why it matters: The closing comes just weeks after Trump announced the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, and follows a series of other moves to unravel climate regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Dept of Energy statement:

"Anticipating a smaller FY 2018 budget, the Department is looking for ways to consolidate the many duplicative programs that currently exist within DOE. This is only one example of many. For instance, The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has an International Affairs team, while the International Affairs Office has a renewables team. The Department is looking for ways to eliminate this kind of unnecessary duplication--just like any responsible American business would.

"The premise of the New York Times article claiming that the Administration is retreating on its efforts to promote clean energy is entirely false. The article failed to mention that Secretary Perry successfully introduced two new initiatives on clean energy at the CEM on CCUS and Nuclear Energy. He has a proven record of managing under tight budgets and looks forward to working with whatever resources Congress appropriates to accomplish the core agency functions while being respectful to the American taxpayer."