April 23, 2019

Trump to decide next week on Paris climate accord

28 May 2017, 06:24 | Rhonda Young

Trump to decide next week on Paris climate accord

Incoming French president Emmanuel Macron speaks after his victory in presidential runoff at his campaign headquarters in Paris Sunday

"He came here to learn". "That was a meaningful moment to him". Among the three documents the pope presented as a gift was his 2015 encyclical on the need to protect the environment.

The meeting's final declaration reflected a stalemate between the United States and the six other participating countries, who are all strongly committed to the Paris accord. Trade was a big topic, with Cohn saying the United States' guiding principle will be "we will treat you the way you treat us", suggesting that retaliatory tariffs could be imposed.

The G7 comprises the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK. Cohn said it was "robust".

Trump, who has angrily rejected allegations of such collusion, was expected to quit Sicily without giving the kind of closing news conference that is customary among the G7 leaders. Cohn, for instance, has been among those urging Trump to stay in the agreement.

During his election campaign a year ago, Trump threatened unilateral tariffs on Mexican and Chinese goods and said he would quit the North American Free Trade agreement unless it is renegotiated to his liking.

Any decision on climate change would ultimately be based on what's best for the United States, Cohn said.

The Trump administration has argued that the USA standards are tougher than those set by China, India and others, and therefore have put American businesses at a disadvantage.

Almost 200 countries are part of the Paris accord, and each sets its own emissions targets, which are not legally binding. "We had a good exchange on the difficulty of balancing climate change, responses to climate change and ensuring that you still have a thriving economy, you still offer people jobs so they can feed their families and have a prosperous economy. And that's a hard balancing act".

"The entire discussion about climate was very hard, if not to say very dissatisfying", German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters.

The group, which includes the seven national leaders plus European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, adjourned to the San Domenico Palace, a historic monastery-turned-luxury-hotel, for private sessions. This time the G-7 leaders reiterated a "commitment to keep our markets open and to fight protectionism".

The French leader says he believes the arguments made by the six other members enabled Trump to understand the importance of that issue and the necessity the Paris agreement for the USA economy.

"He listened very acutely to the other leaders in the room", Cohn said.

Among areas that the Canadian and French leaders agreed to work on together were trade, climate change and fighting terrorism.

Soon after, Trump appeared to shove the prime minister of Montenegro so he could be at the front of a group of leaders.

"The United States of America is in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics", it stated. "We're talking about this very aggressively with our allies at all levels". He used the remarks to blast North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members who don't fulfill pledges to put 2 percent of their gross domestic product toward defense.

However, there was relief that Trump agreed to language in the final G7 communique that pledged to fight protectionism and commits to a rules-based worldwide trade system. "He said his dad is from Germany".

The G-7 is an informal gathering that meets every year under a rotating chairmanship. Whether the two leaders will discuss their profound differences over defence spending and climate change is not known.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other G-7 leaders urged Trump to stay in the pact.

And Trump's policy agenda has run into problems. "It's a world problem, and it will be solved at some point".

The president has spent more than a week visiting the Middle East and Europe.

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