By April 10, 2017 Read More →

US holds up G7 joint stance on energy and climate


At the G7 Energy Minister Meeting in Rome, the US said it needed more time to consider its policies on climate change. Twitter photo.

US isolation showed at G7 climate meeting

At the Group of Seven Energy meeting in Rome, the United States asked for more time to work out its policies on climate change, effectively shutting efforts by the G7 to reach a common energy stance.

After President Donald Trump signed an order in March to undo former President Barack Obama’s climate change regulations, the US support for the Paris Climate Change Agreement was called into question.

The main target of the order was Obama’s Clean Power Plan which required states to cut carbon emissions from power plants.  This was a key factor in the ability of the United States to meet its commitments under the 2015 global pact.

At a news conference at the end of the summit, chair of the meeting, Italian Industry and Energy Minister Carlo Calenda said “While this (review of climate policies) is under way the United States reserves its position on these key priorities,” he said. “It was not possible to sign a joint declaration since it would not cover the whole range of topics in the agenda.”

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Europe would “respect everyone’s opinion on the matter but it would not accept making any steps backward with respect to the strategic choices made on climate change”.

Trump and Gentiloni will meet at the G7 summit in Sicily next month.  Reuters reports Italy is anxious to get public backing from all leaders on the Paris accords.

Calenda says all other European Union G7 countries remain strongly committed to the Paris accord.

Canada’s Energy Minister Jim Carr said via Twitter “Canada is committed to act in partnership to create good energy jobs and energy security.”

A Reuters source close to the G7 talks said the inability of US Energy Secretary Rick Perry to commit to climate change policies showed the isolation of the US at the meeting.

“The U.S. also wanted to include references to coal and fossil fuels,” the source added.

Because Washington has not yet finalized its stance on the Paris agreement, some officials hope some middle ground will be found.  “The talks were constructive and there was no friction,” Calenda said.

President Trump pledged to pull out of the Paris Climate Change agreement during the election campaign, saying it would hurt US business.  Environmental groups have criticized the Trump administration’s order, saying it counters the global trend toward cleaner energy technologies.

Calenda and Perry are scheduled to hold bilateral talks on Tuesday.



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