Alone at the table against 195 other countries that have taken a different path, the task of the US team at the upcoming climate negotiations in Bonn in a week's time looks daunting.
An American delegation, led by Thomas Shannon, a highly respected career diplomat, will therefore be in Bonn, Germany, in a week's time for the resumption of discussions under the aegis of the United Nations. The purpose of this meeting is to prepare for the implementation of this unprecedented agreement aimed at containing the rise in global temperature. "It's a strange situation, I don't think I've seen anything like it in the almost 30 years I've been following this process," says Alden Meyer, an expert with the American NGO Union of Concerned Scientists.
The Trump administration emphasizes that it intends to make its voice heard, with one watchword: "protect American interests". And, echoing the slogan "America first" that the real estate magnate used during the campaign, it promises to keep its eyes fixed on its great rival, China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.
The White House says it wants to ensure "that the rules are transparent and fair and apply to countries such as China and other economic competitors of the United States.
But since the June 1st electro-shock and Donald Trump's announcement of his withdrawal, Washington has been in a very bad position to set the tone. For beyond the extremely technical texts, bitterly negotiated to the nearest comma, "climate diplomacy" is also a matter of messages, symbols and dynamics.
Ben Rhodes, a former close advisor to Barack Obama, believes that Washington has de facto abandoned its ability to influence the debates by placing itself outside the process. "I think the rest of the world will simply continue with the Paris agreement and wait and see what happens in the United States in 2020," he told AFP.