Paris climate commitment crippling to USA growth: White House

Lauren Perry
May 27, 2017

Trump met with world leaders this week at the G7 Summit in Sicily where many set out to lobby the U.S. president over staying committed to the climate agreement.

While Trump is demanding that the world's wealthiest nations to do more to fight terror, he's also listening to their urgings about the need for the U.S.to remain in the sweeping Paris climate agreement.

But discussions on that subject also hit stalemate because of differences with the U.S. at what European Union president Donald Tusk called "the most challenging G7 summit in years".

The leaders also agreed on two other topics: closer cooperation against terrorism in the wake of the concert bombing in Manchester that killed 22 people, and on the possibility of putting more sanctions against Russia over its conflict with Ukraine if Russian behavior requires that.

On global trade, which will be a major topic of the G-7 summit, Abe said he will highlight the importance of free and fair trade at the meeting among leaders of the seven major industrial nations - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

"What we do not want to see is a false compromise on nothing", said Tobias Muenchmeyer, a political expert for Greenpeace. Trump may be willing to stay in the agreement, Cohn said, if the USA can scale back commitments made by former President Barack Obama. The meeting with Merkel came just a day after Trump reportedly called Germans "bad".

Top US administration advisers have been in a heated debate over the Paris accord, which Trump vowed to exit as a candidate. "President Trump should now return to Washington and make the right decision, take climate change seriously and take action with the rest of the world".

Besides climate and defense, everyone expects very tough talks on trade.

"It will be a fairly robust discussion on that", Cohn said. The group consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the USA, and it has been meeting regularly since its founding in 1975. Other G7 nations are leaning heavily on Trump to stay in the climate deal.

Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee, reporting from Taormina, said the that picture which had emerged from the summit was largely of one against six; particuarly as the other countries tried to explain their belief in the importance of the Paris accords.

But some of that has been undone by now-viral images of the billionaire tycoon shoving his way past other leaders at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels on Thursday, and by his reported comments on Germany. Trump has publicly blasted the agreement in the past. "We made and saved the United States of America many billions of dollars and millions of jobs". But Cohn indicated earlier Friday that the president was growing more attuned to the European stance on the issue. He singled out natural gas as "such a cleaner fuel" and also noted that the USA could become a "manufacturing powerhouse" by investing in wind and solar energy.

"Then you get into the whole discussion on Paris - is it non-binding?" The U.S. has pledged to reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2025 by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels, which would be a reduction of about 1.6 billion tons of annual emissions.

"In the end we convinced them to include the fight against protectionism in the final communique, so that was a step forward", said one European diplomat, who declined to be named. "All others have confirmed their total agreement on the accord". In a dig at Trump, he invited American climate scientists who felt alienated by the Republican administration to come to France to work.

Other reports by VgToday

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