Donald Trump isolated on climate change in ‘intense’ exchange at G7 summit

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G7 leaders met in Sicily on Friday to discuss trade, climate change, refugees and other issues. Photo: Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Donald Trump was isolated on climate change at the Group of Seven meeting on Friday, as the US president said he’s in no rush to decide whether to scrap his country’s involvement in the Paris Agreement.

A closed-door session on the first day of the G7 summit in Sicily found unity on stepping up efforts to combat terrorism, but entered stormier waters on trade and on climate, Mrs Merkel said. At that stage, it was six against one as leaders pressed Trump to hold to US agreements made under the landmark Paris climate accord.

“We made it clear that we want the US to stick to its commitments,” Mrs Merkel told reporters after the meeting on Friday. “There were very different arguments from us all urging the president to hold to the climate accord.” She said the discussion was conducted in a very “honest” atmosphere, leading to a “very intense exchange.”

After deriding climate change as a hoax and pledging to pull out of the Paris deal during his election campaign, Mr Trump has sidestepped the issue and passed up a number of opportunities to outline his international stance toward global warming. Members of his administration are deadlocked about whether the US should uphold the pact.

Mrs Merkel said that the US side made clear that it hasn’t yet taken a decision on whether to scrap Paris “and won’t make a decision here” at the G7.

In the meeting, G7 leaders asked Mr Trump his timeframe for making a decision, according to a briefing by his top economic adviser, Gary Cohn. Mr Trump said, “I’d rather take my time” and get to the right decision, Mr Cohn told reporters travelling with Mr Trump in Sicily.

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