Local Governments Band Together to Fight Climate Change

Phillip Butler
June 14, 2017

G7 countries vowed on Sunday to press ahead with climate change efforts despite a rift caused by the American withdrawal from the Paris accord.

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 yesterday.

The U.S. was represented by acting Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator Jane Nishida following the departure Sunday by EPA chief Scott Pruitt. Across the country, 274 cities and counting have signed on to the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, which asserts their commitment to lowering emissions at the local level (Purple Cities).

Environmental groups already have challenged some of the regulatory reforms pushed by the Trump administration and Congress using the Paris accord, the UNFCCC and other initiatives as the legal basis for these court challenges.

"All countries and the European Union, but the United States, agree that the Paris agreement is the only mechanism to advance global action on climate change, that it's irreversible and non-negotiable", Canada's Environment Minister Catherine McKenna told reporters Monday.

MINISTERS from the Group of Seven (G7) countries on Monday agreed that the US stood apart from the other six countries on confronting climate change. He said the other G7 countries hoped to continue constructive dialogue with the United States but insisted on the Paris parameters.

"The United States will continue to engage with key global partners in a manner that is consistent with our domestic priorities, preserving both a strong economy and a healthy environment", the G7 communiqué said.

Germany and California agreed Saturday to work together to keep the Paris accords on track and the most populous U.S. state had its own representative at the Bologna talks.

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

Already through the first day of works, however, it was quite clear the rift on climate between the USA and their major allies was much likely to remain unchanged.

"Scott Pruitt's many distortions and falsehoods about the Paris agreement, the reality of the climate threat, and the economic and employment benefits of the clean energy revolution have been sharply rejected by the other G7 environment ministers". However, if the USA were to hew to its Paris commitment, emissions would need to drop far more.

In a phone call, Trudeau asked Merkel whether there would be anything wrong with removing references to the Paris Agreement from a G20 statement on climate change, the report said.

Despite the decision by the United States, the second biggest polluter after China, to pull out of the deal, many analysts suggest the shift to a low-carbon economy is now unstoppable, with renewable prices tumbling and new clean technology being developed and deployed. The timing of the previously planned meeting was right, days after Trump's decision - and through indications that China is preparing to take a more commanding role in fighting climate change.

Trump calls the pact unfair to the US, saying it would hurt the economy while doing next to nothing to prevent global warming.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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