G7 meeting on environment confirms split on climate between U.S., allies

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-13 01:30:14|Editor: ying
Video PlayerClose

U.S. President Donald Trump leaves after delivering a speech at the White House in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, on June 1, 2017. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he has decided to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, a landmark global pact to fight climate change. (Xinhua/Mike Theiler)

By Alessandra Cadone

MILAN, June 12 (Xinhua) -- A two-day ministerial meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) nations ended in the northern Italian city of Bologna on Monday, confirming the split between the United States and its six major allies on climate change.

The U.S. refused to endorse the summit's final statement in the part concerning climate, following President Donald Trump's recent decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on cutting global carbon emissions.

Only six countries in the G7 -- Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan -- restated their pledge to implement the accord, which has been signed by 195 parties and ratified by 148 countries and regions so far.

In the point 7 of the 15-page final communique, they "reaffirm strong commitment to the swift and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, which remains the global instrument for effectively and urgently tackling climate change, and adapting to its effects".

The U.S. representative did not agree on the point. "The United States will continue to engage with key international partners in a manner that is consistent with our domestic priorities," the communique read in a note.

"Accordingly, the United States does not join those sections of the communique on climate and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), reflecting our recent announcement to withdraw and immediately cease implementation of the Paris Agreement and associated financial commitments."

Leaders of the world's most industrialized countries had tried to persuade Trump to stick to the agreement in the last G7 major summit held in Taormina, Italy, on May 26-28. However, the U.S. President announced the withdrawal four days later.

The ministerial talks in Bologna -- besides addressing the state of implementation of the Paris deal -- focused on issues related to "the frontier between economy and environment" such as an environmental tax reform, a green and sustainable finance, and the role of multilateral development banks, according to the Italian G7 presidency.

Italian Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti voiced his hope a future dialogue with the U.S. could still develop in the near future.

"We have worked to build bridges," Ansa news agency quoted Galletti as saying after the closure of the meeting on Monday."It could have been a G7 of rupture, and it was a G7 of dialogue instead," he added.

Already through the first day of works, however, it was quite clear the rift on climate between the U.S. and their major allies was much likely to remain unchanged.

The top U.S. official at the meeting, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, left the meeting after only few hours of one-on-one talks held with his counterparts from Germany, Japan, and Britain. Pruitt's departure was unscheduled, and no formal explanation was provided for it.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Galletti explained there was "full agreement (among G7) on all issues, but climate".

He reiterated his view that the Paris Agreement would remain "irreversible, non-negotiable, and the only possible tool to fight climate change" for all the United States' partners in the G7.

Italy, Germany, and France had already expressed such position in a joint statement on June 1, in which they defended the Paris deal, regretted president Trump's decision, and dismissed the idea the global agreement could be renegotiated.

The G7 ministerial meeting in Bologna also involved representatives from the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN), and Chile, Ethiopia, Maldives, and Rwanda as invited countries.