Trump faces G7 squeeze on climate change, trade at Sicily summit

Nikolai Fichtner, spokesman for the German environment ministry, said the Europeans were "lobbying at all levels right now for the remain in the Paris agreement".

President Donald Trump is in Taormina, Sicily for a second day of meetings with Group of Seven wealthy nation leaders.

The summit kicked off with a ceremony at an ancient Greek theater perched on a cliff overlooking the sea where war ships patrolled the sparkling blue waters.

But, Meyer continues, "he stands in stark isolation, as the leaders from Europe, Canada, and Japan have made it crystal clear they intend to fully implement their national commitments under the Paris Agreement and pursue efforts to decarbonize the global economy".

"His views are evolving which exactly as they should be", Trump's economic adviser Gary Cohn said on Friday.

Alden Meyer, a leading expert on the United Nation's worldwide climate negotiations process and director of strategy and policy with the organization, said that Trump's "continued waffling on whether to stay in or withdraw from the Paris Agreement made it impossible to reach consensus at the Taormina summit on the need for ambitious climate action". "His basis for decision ultimately will be what's best for the United States".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised what she called "a very hard, not to say very unsatisfactory" discussion with Trump on the issue. Like many other agreements signed under the administration of former US President Barack Obama, Trump has vowed that he would revise Washington's commitments under the deals to ensure US interests are protected. Cohn stressed Friday that the president was simply being critical of the USA trade imbalance with Germany.

By Saturday morning, Trump was already tweeting that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners had given him a big win on this issue and that the money was beginning to roll in.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came out of the G7 summit Saturday calling it a success, even though the United States did not commit to the Paris climate accord.

His announcement came as a summit of G7 leaders in Sicily wrapped up in deadlock on the issue, with United States partners voicing frustration at the president's failure to commit to the deal aimed at stemming global warming.

"Trump's unwillingness to support the Paris Agreement highlights his utter contempt towards science, the worldwide community and welfare of millions of people across the globe", said Mr Bennett. "What you're asking me to do is tell you what's inside the president's mind".

"There was very strong opposition by the Americans and British who wanted to refocus on security and water down the expansive language on freedom of movement", said a European diplomat, who declined to be named.

After the pomp of presidential travel overseas, Trump will return to Washington to find the same problems that have dogged him. Kushner's lawyer said he will cooperate with investigators.

The rules of the NAFTA countdown mean Trudeau and Trump can not talk about specific issues that would be subject to negotiations, even though they did talk about Canada-U.S. trade, including softwood lumber. Meanwhile, the search for a new Federal Bureau of Investigation director continues.

Details of exactly how this "outside in" approach would work are TBD but if it succeeds it would be a real foreign policy triumph for Trump. The president's budget was widely criticized for deep cuts to safety net programs.

Trump "is isolating the USA from its most important allies and those allies stood strong in the face of backsliding", Heather Coleman, climate director at Oxfam America, said in a statement referring to the Paris Agreement policy of not weakening climate-related commitments over time.

  • Leroy Wright