Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Kerry says USA climate goals in reach despite Trump Paris pullout

Kerry says USA climate goals in reach despite Trump Paris pullout

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.

As the aftershocks of the Trump administration's June 1 rejection of the Paris Agreement continue to rumble, groups across the United States have rebelled against the decision to withdraw from the the global climate pact.

At a meeting in Italy, environmental ministers from G-7 nations released a lengthy communique on climate change, including detailed commitments from each nation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of their promises under the Paris deal.

As a result, the USA said it would not join those sections of the communique on climate and multilateral development banks.

The leaders' communiqué, agreed just days before Trump announced he would pull out of the Paris agreement, said the USA was not in a position to join the consensus because it was still reviewing its climate policies. Even though the United States has said it is committed to fighting climate change, withdrawing from an worldwide agreement that fights climate change begs to differ.

"Everything else for us is excluded", he said.

The same day as Trump's announcement, the states of New York, California, and Washington announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance.

Trump said earlier this month he intends to withdraw the US from the agreement unless it can be renegotiated.

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"The United States will continue to engage with key global partners in a manner that is consistent with our domestic priorities, preserving both a strong economy and a healthy environment", the USA said in its statement, which was included in the broader climate change communique.

The meeting's divided conclusion mirrored events at a meeting of G7 leaders attended by Trump in Sicily last month which sparked a rift with Germany in particular.

Already through the first day of works, however, it was quite clear the rift on climate between the USA and their major allies was much likely to remain unchanged. Those states that have not yet ratified the agreement may delay their actions, while those that have signed it will use the Trump's opposition as an excuse to step back from their commitments.

Ms. McKenna was asked about a report in the German news magazine Der Spiegel on June 9 that said Mr. Trudeau had suggested to Ms. Merkel in a telephone call that all mentions of the Paris agreement be struck from a planned G20 statement on climate change as a way to garner Mr. Trump's support. He left the G7 environment ministers meeting after only a few hours, said Ms. McKenna.

The U.S. has said it is open to renegotiating the accord, arguing that it imposes less stringent emissions standards on China, India and others. They eventually agreed, as long as it was clear the note came from "we the United States". It would undoubtedly bring risks for the rest of the world, which will have to work harder to make up for U.S. emissions, which are already the world's second-highest.

The G20's finance ministers already walked back previous support for climate finance when they met in March because the US said it wasn't ready to sign on.

"Every country but the United States expressed their absolutely unwavering commitment to the swift and effective implementation of the Paris agreement", she said in a conference call with reporters Monday.

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