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 Eric J. Lyman
ROME, June 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald J. Trump announced earlier this month that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, but Italy's Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said he plans to keep pushing Trump to change his mind.
Trump, Gentiloni, and other leaders from the Group of 20 (G20) are gearing up for the G20 Summit in the northern German city of Hamburg on July 7-8.
Of the 20, the U.S. is the only one that has said it would reject the Paris deal, which was agreed to by nearly 200 countries -- including the U.S. -- two years ago in the French capital.
The G20 is composed of large industrialized economies, plus major economies in transition, such as Brazil, China, and India.
Gentiloni indicated this year's summit will be the first major diplomatic showdown since Trump's June 1 announcement about the Paris Agreement, the first global pact to confront the problem of climate change.
"On the occasion of the next G20 ... we will renew the pressure on the U.S. president to review his position on the Paris Agreement," Gentiloni said earlier this week.
Gentiloni rose to prominence beyond Italy's borders at May's Group of Seven summit, which Italy hosted.
Reporters were told that Gentiloni pushed hard to persuade Trump to remain part of the Paris Agreement when the two met in Sicily.
After Trump's announcement that the U.S. planned to withdraw and would seek to renegotiate the Paris deal, Gentiloni was one of three leaders -- along with French President Emanuele Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel -- to co-author a public letter, saying that the Paris deal "cannot be renegotiated."
Key observers said they expected an about-face from Trump at the G20 talks, though they applauded Gentiloni's stance.
Italian Prime MinisterPaolo Gentiloni receives an interview with Chinese media at Palazzo Chigi in Rome, Italy, on May 10, 2017. Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has said that Italy and China had a lot to give each another in terms of tourism and cultural cooperation because they are both ancient civilizations "that strike the popular imagination." (Xinhua/Jin Yu)
"It is entirely appropriate for world leaders to continue to hold the U.S. accountable for its commitments to the Paris Agreement," Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, the head of global climate and energy policy for WWF, said in an interview.
Jennifer Morgan, executive director for Greenpeace International, said she was encouraged by Gentiloni's remarks.
"Gentiloni is aligned with many other world leaders who will keep moving ahead," Morgan told Xinhua.
"If Trump wants to shoot himself in the foot by ignoring the advice of leading scientists, economists, security officials, and even the will of his own citizens, this statement helps show he will have to do it alone," she said.