Trump Defies G7, Refuses To Back Climate Deal After "Controversial" Debate
Friday, 26 May 2017

The Group of Seven world leaders, or rather Six excluding Trump, tried to tame the US president... and failed. Which means on Saturday the group will sign off on a significantly "pared-down" statement at the close of their meeting in Sicily - an indication of deep divisions on climate change, trade and various other issues between Trump and the rest of the developed world. Pushing hard to persuade Trump to back the landmark Paris climate accord deal, after hours of talks that were described by Angela Merkel as "controversial" the G-7 leaders failed to get Trump's endorsement.


The leaders did, however, issue a joint statement on fighting terrorism, admonishing internet service providers and social media companies to "substantially increase" their efforts to rein in extremist content. According to Italy's Prime Minister and host, Paolo Gentiloni, the group was also inching closer to finding common language on trade, a controversial for Trump who has repeatedly pushed for an "America first" agenda.

But on the issue of climate, there was no breakthrough.

"There is one open question, which is the U.S. position on the Paris climate accords," Gentiloni told reporters according to Reuters, referring to a 2015 deal on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"All others have confirmed their total agreement on the accord." U.S. officials had signaled beforehand that Trump, who dismissed climate change as a "hoax" during his campaign, would not take a decision on the climate deal in Taormina, the cliff-top town overlooking the Mediterranean where G7 leaders met.

Other leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and new French President Emmanuel Macron, had hoped to sway the president at his first major international summit. 

They failed, despite what Merkel described as a "controversial" climate debate and added that there was a "very intensive" exchange of views. One can only imagine.

Speaking separately, Trump's economic adviser Gary Cohn said Trump's views on climate were "evolving" and that he would ultimately do what was best for the United States.

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The tense summit, held at a luxury hotel that was once a Dominican monastery and base for the Nazi air force during World War Two, took place one day after Trump blasted NATO allies for spending too little on defense and described Germany's trade surplus as "very bad" in a meeting with EU officials. As noted yesterday, Trump's NATO speech shocked allies, who had been expecting him to reaffirm Washington's commitment to Article 5, the part of the military alliance's founding treaty which describes an attack on one member as an attack on all.

 




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