G7 countries will on Saturday recognise the deadlock about taking collective action on climate change as US President Donald Trump mulls his position, officials said.
“The United States is evaluating its policy with regard to the climate, so the six other G7 countries will reaffirm their commitment (to the global Paris accord) while taking note” of the US position, a French official said at the G7 summit in Sicily.
Other delegates concurred that it was “six against one” at the gathering of leading democracies spanning North America, Europe and Japan.
Under Trump, who once called climate change a “hoax” perpetrated by China, Washington has resisted intense pressure from its partners to commit to respecting the 2015 global accord on curbing carbon emissions.
But Gary Cohn, Trump’s economic advisor, on Friday said the president had told his G7 colleagues that he regarded the environment as important.
“His views are evolving, he came here to learn,” Cohn said. “His basis for decision ultimately will be what’s best for the United States.”
The United States is the world’s biggest carbon emitter after China.
Trump has yet to act on his campaign threat to ditch the Paris accord, having said he would listen to what US partners have to say before making a decision on how to proceed after the G7.
Abandoning the Paris agreement would carry a high political cost internationally, with Europe, Canada, China and Japan all strongly committed to the deal.
It would also be fiercely opposed at home by the US environment lobby and by American corporations that are now investing heavily in cleaner technology.
‘Make the right decision’
The stalemate on climate change was mirrored by divisions between the US and the other G7 countries over trade and migration at the annual summit, described by officials as the toughest in years.
Delegates worked long into the night in an attempt to reach a compromise on the closing statement which will be issued later Saturday.
But while officials signalled some progress on bridging the gap in positions on trade, differences on the climate issue remained irreconcilable.
Greenpeace bemoaned the outcome but held out hope that Trump might change tack at a broader G20 summit in Germany in July, where big emerging players such as China and India will be at the table.
“Europe, Canada and Japan stood up today and made a stand, revealing again how far Trump is out of step with the rest of the world on climate change,” Greenpeace international executive director Jennifer Morgan said in Sicily.
Nevertheless, the clean energy revolution is “unstoppable” with support from other governments and from industry, she said.
“Leaders must now keep resolve and ensure that the G20 signals even greater climate ambition. President Trump should now return to Washington and make the right decision, take climate change seriously and take action with the rest of the world.”
© Agence France-Presse