G7 partners remain at odds

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Earlier this month U.S. President Donald Trump said he would withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, drawing condemnation from other world leaders.

“G7 countries have crucial roles and responsibilities to our own public opinion, to developing countries and to the planet,” Italy’s Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti said at a two-day meeting of G7 environmental chiefs in Italy. “The international community awaits our message.”

Scott Pruitt a friend of the oil industry is skeptical about man-made climate change and was Trump’s controversial choice to head the US Environmental Protection Agency, attended the meeting in northern city Bologna but had to fly back home after the first day.

With Germany’s environment minister, Barbara Hendricks, also departing early and France’s Nicolas Hulot not arriving until Monday because of legislative elections, there appeared little prospect of substantial bridge building on an issue which has caused significant tensions between Donald Trump’s administration and key US allies.

According to the UN official in charge of implementing the Paris accord, Patricia Espinosa, Trump’s pullout would not make any difference in the short-term.

She said:“We’ve all registered with regret the US decision, but at the same time the US remains a party to the agreement because it foresees a three-year period before any party can withdraw.” “So for us it is really clear that what we need to do is to go forward with implementing the accord and helping countries translate their national programme into their development policies so we can get to 2018 and have a first assessment of where we stand,”

The presence of the G7 ministers in the ancient University City resulted in the hundreds of students marching through Bologna to protest a long-standing bastion of progressive activism.

“Trump had given the radical environmentalist movement a shot in the arm, he would have been on the streets regardless, Organizer Giacomo Cossu said.

“Trump has revealed the truth that lies behind the rhetoric of the G7 on the environment. They want changes that suit the interests of big business.

Ecology for us means democracy and equality. They represent the one percent not the seven billion. “Chaperoned by hundreds of riot police, the demonstration appeared to be passing off peacefully with protesters brandishing placards declaring: “There is no Planet B” and “They think the Kyoto protocol is a Japanese erotic film.”

Source: Online

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