US official makes brief appearance at G7 environment summit

Posted June 14, 2017

The G7 is supposed to be a like-minded grouping of the world's top industrial democracies.

Trudeau issued a statement after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the United States' withdrawal from the global climate agreement earlier this month, saying he was "deeply disappointed" in the decision and that Canada's commitment to fight climate change is "unwavering". "That the U.S.is now left as a footnote to climate action ... is very sad".

Together with the pledges made by a growing coalition of USA mayors, governors, business leaders and others to meet America's Paris commitments without him, the meeting highlights President Trump's increasing isolation on climate and clean energy issues, both at home and overseas.

"The United States will continue to engage with key global partners in a manner that is consistent with our domestic priorities", the communique read in a note.

The Associated Press notes Pruitt was told by his counterparts they were disappointed by President Donald Trump's controversial decision last month to withdraw from the landmark Paris climate accord. The G7 Bologna talks are to wrap up on Monday. He has said the us could try to re-enter the deal under more favorable terms, but the European Union - and in particular Italy, France and Germany - have said the Paris accord cannot be renegotiated. Last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland argued in a seminal speech to the House of Commons that Canada can no longer rely on the US for global leadership. Two years ago, the climate change holdouts were Japan, which had to turn to coal-fired power after shutting down its nuclear power plants because of the 2011 quake, and Canada, which has since had a change of government.

Italy's environment minister, Gian Luca Galletti, who is leading the G-7 environment meeting in Bologna, said that despite the split, dialogue had to continue, including on other environmental issues such as ocean pollution.

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His decision has been met with worldwide condemnation, including from within the USA itself.

Trump has said the Paris accord would undermine the USA economy, cost jobs, and put the country at a permanent disadvantage compared with its competitors.

In a statement the EPA said Pruitt had emphasized it was time to move forward and find ways to engage with other countries to protect and use US natural resources.

She said she made that clear to Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, during a 20-minute private conversation on the sidelines of a meeting of G7 environment ministers in Italy on Sunday. His aides stayed for the rest of the meeting. "But it's a G7 that made a step forward because it maintained a dialogue".

The world's largest economies are divided over how to tackle global warming following the withdrawal of the US from the Paris climate accord this month.

But the United States pointedly did not sign on.

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The U.S. has said it is open to renegotiating the accord, arguing that it imposes less stringent emissions standards on China, India and others.

"We are all looking for American leadership", Solheim said, according to Bloomberg. To meet the carbon-dioxide emissions targets, the United States would have to significantly cut back its use of traditional energy resources, including oil and natural gas, hurting the economies of many Midwestern and Western states.

The text affirms the importance of the Paris deal, the urgency of holding the planet's warming below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, the vulnerability of small island nations and least-developed countries, and more.

Presumably, leaders of the country's biggest businesses are in a better position than the government to generate technologies, commercialize products, and put in place programs to address any climate-related problems - and make a tidy profit at the same time.

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.

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.

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But Der Spiegel reported that Trudeau suggested to Merkel that the planned G20 communiqué could be limited to energy issues, without mentioning the Paris Agreement.