US disagrees with G7 partners on climate change and refuses to endorse joint statement

The US is the only country to refuse to the endorsement in light of its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Monday 12 June 2017 14:36
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Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Scott Pruitt prepares to pose for a group photo during the G7 Environment summit on 11 June 2017 in Bologna.
Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Scott Pruitt prepares to pose for a group photo during the G7 Environment summit on 11 June 2017 in Bologna.

The US has refused to endorse a joint communique with other G7 countries on climate change at the end of a two-day summit in Bologna, Italy but says it will continue to work with international partners on environment matters.

The final document from the meeting does not mention the US, the world's second largest polluter, at all in light of Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement that this split within the G7 is "unprecedented".

At the last general G7 meeting, world leaders tried to convince Mr Trump to stay in the accord, which nearly 200 countries signed in December 2015 in an effort to lower greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a warmer planet.

“The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said of the group's time in Sicily last month.

Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was at the meeting for a mere five hours before coming back to the US for what officials said was a Cabinet meeting at the White House according to Bloomberg BNA. The meeting appears to have been scheduled weeks ago, however.

Mr Pruitt has repeatedly echoed Mr Trump's insistence that the Paris Agreement put the US economy and American workers at "a disadvantage".

Speaking during a news conference at the White House the day after the US withdrawal, the EPA chief was bullish, telling reporters that US was ready to renegotiate the Paris deal or talk about a new one altogether despite Italy, France, and Germany issuing a joint statement saying they would not be open to doing so.

He said a seat at the negotiating table was a given because “we’re the United States”, adding: “We have nothing to be apologetic about."

Mr Pruitt's "many distortions and falsehoods about the Paris agreement, the reality of the climate threat, and the economic and employment benefits of the clean energy revolution have been sharply rejected by the other G7 environment ministers. As their statement makes clear, there is no appetite to ‘renegotiate’ the Paris agreement," said Mr Meyer.

The "America First" doctrine employed by the Trump administration coupled with commitments by several US mayors, governors, and major US corporations put Mr Trump in an isolated position, argues Mr Meyer.

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