World

G7 talks dominated 
by US quitting accord

Green movement in other G7 countries forges ahead despite US withdrawal

BOLOGNA: G7 environment chiefs met in Italy yesterday for talks set to be dominated by the rift caused by the United States' withdrawal from the Paris climate change accord.

"G7 countries have crucial roles and responsibilities to our own public opinion, to developing countries and to the planet," Italy's Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti said at the start of the two-day meet.

Mr Galletti later said differences between the US and other leading economies over climate change remain wide and look to stay that way. "Positions over the Paris accord are far apart... and will remain like that."

Mr Scott Pruitt, a friend of the oil industry who is sceptical about man-made climate change and was US President Donald Trump's controversial choice to head the US Environmental Protection Agency, will represent Washington.

Up against him will be the likes of German environment minister Barbara Hendricks, who once tried to ban meat from her ministry's catering.

France is deploying prominent Green campaigner Nicolas Hulot, new President Emmanuel Macron's high-profile pick for the environment brief.

Italy's large environmentalist movement has also vowed to make its voice heard with a major demonstration planned.

"A lot of people are very upset about Trump's decision and it has started a new debate," Mr Giacomo Cossu, an organiser of the demonstration, said.

A spokesman for Ms Hendricks said Germany would be looking for "something more concrete" from Mr Pruitt in terms of what the US was going to do. Mr Trump has said Washington will not be bound by the targets on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases set down in Paris, and will cut funding for developing countries.

Important players in US industry and individual cities and states are already implementing changes to meet targets laid down in Paris. - AFP

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