EU, China summit to back Paris deal regardless of Trump
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 31, 2017,
May 31, 2017, 23:00
At a summit meeting of the G7 group of leading economies over the weekend, Trump refused to join the other six leaders in pledging to implement the Paris accord and said he would announce the United States position this week.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made an impassioned appeal Tuesday for the world to intensify action to combat climate change and implement the Paris Agreement to limit carbon emissions as President Donald Trump debates whether the US will withdraw from the accord.
A US decision to withdraw from the accord could further alienate American allies in Europe already wary of Trump and call into question USA leadership and trustworthiness on one of the world's leading issues.
Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn told reporters on Saturday in Sicily that the president had told his fellow G7 leaders that "the environment is very, very important to me, Donald Trump" - but voiced his concern that the USA was falling behind India and China in manufacturing.
"I was sitting in on some of the discussions in Brussels, by the way, where climate change came up and the president was open, he was curious about why others were in the position they were in, his counterparts in other nations", Mattis said.
"A stunning abdication of American leadership and a grave threat to our planet's future".
Administration officials are split on whether to stay in the deal, with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt calling for withdrawal and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry pushing the U.S.to remain in the accord and "renegotiate" its terms. "Climate solutions provide opportunities that are unmatchable".
Trump pledged during his campaign to "cancel" the deal, but delayed a decision for months amid a split in the administration on the issue.
Pruitt and Steve Bannon have reportedly advocated for leaving the agreement, while US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner are strong advocates for staying in the deal, the report added.
Once in power, Trump and Pruitt have moved to delay or roll back federal regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions while pledging to revive the long-struggling USA coal mines.
But Trump's chief White House economic adviser, Gary Cohn, told reporters during the trip overseas that Trump's views on climate change were "evolving" following the president's discussions with European leaders.
A US pullout would be disappointing but the European Union stands ready to take global leadership on the issue, European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said in Brussels. That means there are no signals until now whether the US will remain in the Paris Agreement or not.
Denmark's energy and climate minister Lars Christian Lilleholt told Reuters: "It will be necessary for the European Union to show leadership if the USA should pull out of the deal".
Hundreds of high-profile businesses have spoken out in favor of the deal, including Apple, Google and Walmart.
"It is hard to imagine a decision that would be a more devastating blow to the positive momentum behind the Paris Agreement, and to the prospects of raising climate ambition over time", he said. We are one of the two largest carbon emitters, with China.
At a Wednesday news conference, a government spokesman said Macron had told a cabinet meeting France would be "very pro-active" in working to ensure the Paris accord was implemented.