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The U.S. benched its most valuable players during U.N. climate talks

The U.S. continued to participate in the annual UN Climate talks — but this year without its most valuable players.

The U.N.’s annual meeting on climate change came to a close last week after two weeks of meetings and negotiations, most of which focused on the implementation of the Paris Agreement. As usual, the U.S. participated in the climate talks — but this time without its most valuable players.

After years of leading the charge on climate action, Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would leave the Paris Agreement in 2020 put the country in the back seat. The U.S. team wasn’t only missing some key experts, but the group was also much smaller than usual. This year’s 48-person delegation only included three technical experts, compared to last year’s 93-person delegation, which included 14 experts.

VICE News spoke with Jonathan Pershing, the former lead negotiator representing the United States at meetings of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. He explained what a smaller, and less technically competent, U.S. delegation means for the country and the world.

This segment originally aired November 13, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.