Six out of seven G7 leaders renewed their commitments to greenhouse gas reductions at the end of their meeting in Taormina, Sicily Saturday, underscoring Donald Trump’s growing outlier status as he lurches toward a decision on whether to pull his country out of the Paris agreement.
“President Trump’s continued waffling on whether to stay in or withdraw from the Paris Agreement made it impossible to reach consensus at the Taormina summit on the need for ambitious climate action,” said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “But he stands in stark isolation.”
“The whole discussion about climate was very difficult, not to say unsatisfactory,” added German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “There’s a situation where it’s six—if you count the European Union, seven—against one.”
All the other members of the G7—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK—“reaffirmed ‘strong commitment’ to the agreement, which Barack Obama signed in 2015,” Politico reports. “While the declaration included remarkable language highlighting that the U.S. stood apart, the other G7 members expressed some relief that Trump had not outright rejected the accord, and said they remained hopeful he would come around.”
While the meeting was under way, U.S. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn said Trump’s views on climate change were “‘evolving’ after European allies personally pressured him to reverse his vow” to abandon Paris, the Washington Post reported. Trump tweeted that he would make a decision in the next week, and the New York Times cast the discord over the climate agreement as “the most vivid sign of division between the United States and its allies,” though not the only one.
By Saturday, Reuters was reporting that Trump had informed “confidants”, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, that he planned to exit the Paris deal.
While Trump’s epic vacillations continued to consume much of the oxygen in international climate deliberations, Oil Change International warned the G7 had succumbed to “fossil fuel cronyism” with a closing declaration that failed to recommit to phasing out fossil subsidies by 2025.
“Subsidizing fossil fuel companies in the face of rapid climate change is like spraying jet fuel on a burning home,” said Senior Campaigner Alex Doukas. “Our leaders must act now to stop burning our tax dollars and stop trashing the climate.”