Disharmony at G7 as Donald Trump plays his own tune

Cheryl Sanders
May 28, 2017

"This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States", Mr. Trump said. While yesterday Trump went to a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance gathering, publicly lecturing other countries about doing their fair share, here at the G-7, behind closed doors, Cohn says Trump has been hanging back more and listening to the other leaders share their experiences and views on issues like trade and climate change.There was, however, a long way to go before the leaders could arrive at a happy consensus on other issues.The Trump administration has argued that the U.S. standards are tougher than those set by China, India and others, and therefore have put American businesses at a disadvantage.

Earlier German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised what she called "a very hard, not to say very unsatisfactory" discussion with Trump on the issue.

He tweeted that he'll make a decision about the accord next week. A top White House adviser said the president's views were evolving on the issue, but Trump wasn't immediately swayed by arguments from Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, France's President Emmanuel Macron and others to honor the Paris Agreement, brokered in 2015 by nearly 200 nations to slash fossil fuel emissions and boost funding to ease impacts of global warming.

"In this context, we all agree on the importance of supporting developing countries".

Although he tweeted that he would make a decision next week, his apparent reluctance to embrace the first-ever legally binding global climate deal that was signed by 195 countries clearly annoyed German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Trump, who has previously called global warming a hoax, came under concerted pressure from the other leaders to honor the 2015 Paris Agreement on curbing carbon emissions.

"President Trump should join these leaders in protecting Americans from the mounting impacts of climate change and reaping the economic benefits of the clean energy revolution, rather than trying to shore up the flagging fortunes of the polluting coal and oil industries", Meyer said.

"His views are evolving, he came here to learn", Cohn said. "His basis for decision is ultimately going to be what's best for the United States".

Trump had said he would listen to what USA partners have to say at the G7 before making a decision on how to proceed.

During his election campaign, Trump threatened unilateral tariffs on Mexican and Chinese goods and said he would quit the North American Free Trade agreement unless it was renegotiated to his liking.

At last year's summit in Japan, it issued a lengthy communique in support of resisting protectionism, as well as helping refugees and fighting climate change.

"Europe, Canada and Japan stood up today and made a stand, revealing again how far Trump is out of step with the rest of the world on climate change", Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace's global executive director, said in Sicily.

Iain Keith, campaign director of Avaaz, an activist network, said: "Today, G6 leaders put our planet first, showing that even the U.S. president can not stop the inevitable clean energy revolution". This time the G-7 leaders reiterated a "commitment to keep our markets open and to fight protectionism". Trump is in Sicily right now attending a meeting of G-7 leaders.TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Coming in, there was a deep divide among the G-7 leaders.

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