Italy sees no hope of winning over U.S. on climate change at G7

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 11, 2017 8:32 AM

BOLOGNA, Italy (Reuters) - Differences between the United States and other leading economies over climate change remain wide and are destined to stay that way, Italy's environment minister Gian Luca Galletti said on Sunday.

Group of Seven (G7) environment ministers and officials are meeting in Bologna on Sunday and Monday to discuss issues including climate change, sustainable development and litter at sea.

"Positions over the Paris accord are far apart ... and will remain like that," Galletti said on the sidelines of a meeting of G7 environment ministers from the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Britain. Italy holds the G7 presidency for 2017.

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.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni have said the Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated, urging their allies to speed up efforts to combat climate change.

"There's a willingness to find a common thread ... we're looking to mend things," Galletti told reporters, without providing details.

Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, has said the Paris accord would undermine the U.S. economy, cost jobs, and put the country at a permanent disadvantage compared to its competitors.

Scott Pruitt, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is scheduled to fly back to the United States on Sunday afternoon for a meeting with Trump, declined to comment on how talks were proceeding in Bologna.

But according to Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Pruitt told delegates in the opening session that the United States wanted to continue making efforts in combating climate change.

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"He also mentioned he wants to engage with the (UN's) Climate Change secretariat," she said.

Trump said when he announced he was pulling out of the Paris accord that his administration would begin negotiations either to re-enter the deal or set up a new agreement on "terms that are fair to the United States".

Supporters of the Paris accord have called Trump's move a blow to international efforts to tackle dangers for the planet posed by global warming.

The United States is the world's second biggest carbon emitter behind China.

(reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Gavin Jones and Jason Neely)