Trump's environment official skipping much of G7 summit

Jerome Frank
June 13, 2017

The United States has refused to sign a G7 pledge that calls the Paris climate accord the "irreversible" global tool to address climate change.

The summit was the first since President Donald Trump declared he would pull the US out of the worldwide Paris accord earlier this month.

In a statement, Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said the communique and the meeting are proof the U.S.is "resetting the agenda" on the Paris agreement. He had to return to Washington for a Cabinet meeting.

The G20's finance ministers already walked back previous support for climate finance when they met in March because the USA said it wasn't ready to sign on.

The call is included in the final statement taken unanimously at the end of the two-day meeting in the Italian city of Bologna, but without the support of the U.S. delegation to the chapter on climate change. Alongside Syria and Nicaragua, the U.S.is now the only nation not participating in the accord.

Hulot said U.S. commitments on other environmental issues, notably cleaning up the world's plastic-choked oceans, were not in doubt, and the commitment of industry players to green technologies and renewable energy would not be affected by Trump's position. "He also mentioned he wants to engage with the (UN's) Climate Change Secretariat", she said.

Instead, the US was mentioned in a footnote touting its goals of a "strong" economy and "healthy" environment, and which implied it had already met climate goals.

Leader of a state judged to be the sixth largest economy in the world, Brown has become a figurehead in in the "Under2 Coalition", an global pact among cities, states and countries committed to honouring the Paris Accord.

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Italian Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti said a dialogue had been kept open with the U.S.to see if there were the conditions for Washington to reenter the Paris accord.

DETROIT-President Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris worldwide climate treaty hasn't shaken auto makers' resolve to continue developing cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles. "Everything else for us is excluded", he said.

"We need to go forward with implementing the accord and helping countries translate their national programme into their development policies so we can get to 2018 and have a first assessment of where we stand", she said.

But the United States pointedly did not sign on. The timing of the previously planned meeting was right, days after Trump's decision - and through indications that China is preparing to take a more commanding role in fighting climate change.

While not flawless, the Paris Accord was an important step in addressing the world's growing carbon emissions.

McKenna said the Paris agreement could create economic opportunities worth "in the tens of trillions of dollars".

The United States' partners in the G7 club of wealthy democracies vowed on Sunday to press ahead with efforts to contain devastating climate change despite a rift caused by the American withdrawal from the Paris accord on cutting carbon emissions.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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