President Donald Trump ended his first international trip by making clear just how alone the United States is now when it comes to climate change. While all other G-7 countries reaffirmed their commitment to the 2015 agreement to limit greenhouse gas emission, the United States stood alone. Trump’s refusal to sign onto the pact came after three days of intense lobbying by other leaders, including Pope Francis.
A short while later Trump took to Twitter to vow that he will make a final decision on the Paris agreement next week.
The way the G-7 meeting spent so much time discussing climate change clearly frustrated some leaders who thought the accord signed by 195 countries was already a done deal. “The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters. “There’s a situation where it’s six—if you count the European Union, seven—against one.” French President Emmanuel Macron tried to be a bit more positive about it, noting a contrast from a few weeks ago when “people thought that the United States would pull out and that no talks would be possible.”
National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn told reporters that there had been a “very robust conversation” on the issue. When he was asked directly which way Trump was leaning on the deal, Cohn said “I don’t know.” Experts quickly said it was Trump’s failure to endorse the deal that made it impossible to reach more concrete action on climate change. “President Trump’s continued waffling on whether to stay in or withdraw from the Paris Agreement made it impossible to reach consensus at the Taormina summit on the need for ambitious climate action,” Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said. “But he stands in stark isolation.”
Trump’s failure to come to a decision on the Paris agreement reflects the intense discussions that are going on inside the White House that have pitted the nationalists in the administration with the more mainstream staffers. During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly referred to the Paris deal as a jobs killer.