Paris Accord Future Precarious

Donald Trump’s advisors say his views on climate change are “evolving” after the G7 discussions
It remains to be seen if world leaders have managed to upend Donald trump’s anti-global warming stance.It remains to be seen if world leaders have managed to upend Donald trump’s anti-global warming stance.
Prior to taking office, Trump claimed he would pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was eight against one during the G7 summit in Taormina, Italy.

On one side were leaders of Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, plus two EU representatives and on the other side stood US President Donald Trump.

And up for debate, the peril of climate change and the urgency of US commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emission, NPR reported.

According to Reuters, Merkel said that everyone at the G7 summit table was urging Trump to stick with the pact.

After that conversation, Trump economic adviser, Gary Cohn, said the president’s views are “evolving” and that he feels “much, much more knowledgeable” after the conversation with world leaders.

“He came here to learn. He came here to get smarter,” Cohn said. “His views are evolving, which is exactly as they should be. Any decision on climate change would ultimately be based on what’s best for the United States.”

The Paris accord, created in 2015 after lengthy negotiations, calls on 196 nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to keep the rise in global temperatures no higher than 2 degrees Celsius, as compared with pre-industrial levels. The global average temperature has already increased about 1°C.

The deal includes voluntary pledges to reduce emissions and calls for developed countries to provide billions of dollars to help the developing world switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

The accord was historic in its scope and ambition, even though its reliance on voluntary pledges made it less robust than some advocates had hoped.

On the campaign trail, Trump said he would “cancel” the Paris deal. He has previously suggested that climate change is a hoax and appointed as the head of the EPA a man who said he does not believe human activity is a primary contributor to global warming, though the vast amount of literature suggests otherwise.

But since taking office, Trump has not moved to withdraw the US from the Paris agreement. He has rolled back a number of Obama-era climate change measures, which will hamper US efforts to fulfill its Paris pledges. But he has not retracted the pledges themselves.

  An Open Question

Before the conversation between Trump and the other G7 leaders, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni noted that all the other countries had confirmed “total agreement” to the pact, while the US commitment was an “open question”.

“We are sure that after an internal reflection, the United States will also want to commit to it,” Gentiloni was quoted as saying by AP.

But Gentolini and other world leaders were not just waiting for internal reflection and added some external pressure, too.

French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly discussed climate change with Trump at length on Thursday at a meeting in Brussels.

Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church broached the topic when Trump visited the Vatican. And then there was the chat among the G7 leaders.

Merkel called the conversation “controversial” while Cohn said it was “robust”. What is of concern to the world is whether it was consequential.

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