EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt left a meeting Sunday with several of his European counterparts shortly after the group of leaders discussed President Donald Trump’s decision to ditch the Paris agreement on climate change.
Pruitt attended the first few hours of the two-day G-7 summit before returning to the U.S. for the Trump administration’s first Cabinet meeting, White House officials told reporters. He supported Trump’s move to eliminate the country’s participation in the nearly 200-member climate pact.
Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Japan and Italy agreed during a May political summit in Sicily to work toward making the accord concrete. The pact aims to prevent the Earth’s temperature from increasing above 2 degrees Celsius and commits the U.S. to cut greenhouse gas emissions 28 percent by 2025.
Italian Minister of the Environment Gian Luca Galletti told reporters the countries would continue discussing environmental issues and clean energy proposals despite Pruitt’s decision to bail for more urgent business. Trump’s EPA chief was receptive to the discussion on climate issues before leaving.
The climate accord is a “bad deal” and “is very unfair at the highest level to the United States,” the president said earlier this month in the White House Rose Garden. Trump campaigned during the presidential election on eliminating troves of former President Barack Obama’s climate regulations, as well as the international climate deal.
Germany was among the country’s pushing the hardest for the overarching deal. The country’s Federal Minister of the Environment Barbara Hendricks met Friday with Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown to hash out an agreement on how Germany can work with individual states on clean energy proposals.
Hendricks’ ministry taunted the Trump administration Friday. She posted a ‘fact check’ of the president’s speech announcing the U.S.’ decision to withdrawal, claiming it contains “blatant fallacies.”
Pruitt and White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon managed to win out in the battle to convince Trump to divorce the U.S. from the non-binding accord. Several other members of the administration were pressing the president to stay with the deal for diplomatic purposes.
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