Tuesday, June 13, 2017

U.S. Left as ‘Footnote’ in G7 Climate Talks

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt talks with German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks during a summit of Environment ministers from the G7 group of industrialised nations in Bologna, Italy June 11, 2017. (Credit: Reuters/Max Rossi) Click to Enlarge.
Rifts between the United States and its leading industrial allies over climate change deepened on Monday when Washington refused to subscribe fully to a Group of Seven statement on the environment.

The U.S. said it would not sign up to a pledge by Italy, Canada, Japan, France, Britain and Germany which called the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change "irreversible" and key for the "security and prosperity of our planet."

As a consequence, Washington formally refused to back multilateral development banks — bodies designed to finance poorer nations and help them reduce their pollution emissions.

U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris deal earlier this month and the U.S. position was laid out in a brief note at the bottom of a general communique following a meeting of G7 environment ministers in this northern Italian city.

"The U.S. is now left as a footnote to climate action and that's very sad," said Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.  "Everyone expressed their deep disappointment with the U.S. decision," she said.

The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, only attended the first day of the meeting on Sunday, held as an early summer heatwave settled over Italy, before flying back to Washington. 

In a statement on Monday, he defended the U.S. position.

"We are resetting the dialogue to say Paris is not the only way forward to making progress," he wrote.
McKenna said the Paris agreement could create economic opportunities worth "in the tens of trillions of dollars."

Read more at U.S. Left as ‘Footnote’ in G7 Climate Talks

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