G7 ENVIRONMENT: ALL IN AGREEMENT BUT US PULLS OUT OF CLIMATE COMMITMENTS

The final declaration is adopted unanimously by the G7 Environment ministers with a footnote to indicate the USA's non-adherence on climate change and on development banks
  • 13/06/2017
G7 Environment: All in Agreement but US Pulls Out of Climate Commitments

Galletti: We have worked to build bridges, not walls

The G7 Environment meeting in Bologna ended with a unanimous declaration. However, the final document includes a footnote as requested by the United States, indicating its non-adherence with the section of the declaration related to climate change and multilateral development banks. The footnote in section 2 of the document, the section that is dedicated to climate change which is signed only by the Environment ministers of the other six G7 countries and the European Union, states: "We the United States of America continue to demonstrate through action, having reduced our CO2 footprint as demonstrated by achieving pre-1994 CO2 levels domestically. The United States will continue to engage with key international partners in a manner that is consistent with our domestic priorities, preserving both a strong economy and a healthy environment. Accordingly, we the United States do not join those sections of the communiqué on climate and MDBs (multilateral development banks), reflecting our recent announcement to withdraw and immediately cease implementation of the Paris Agreement and associated financial commitments".

Commenting on the results of the Summit, the Italian Minister of the Environment, Gian Luca Galletti, underlined the fact that a summit that could have turned into a “breaking up of the G7” actually became “a summit of dialogue, and the unanimous adoption of the declaration proves it.” A dialogue - according to the Minister - that was developed by “recognising the diversity of opinion that clearly emerged in the footnote whereby the United States confirmed its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement”. Leaving aside America's announced and expected defection on climate however, Galletti is “also, and above all” anxious to highlight the positive results obtained. “Agreement was reached on sustainable finance, on circular economy, on resource efficiency by approving the important Bologna road map, on marine litter and on a commitment to support Africa. The Minister noted with satisfaction that a deep bond between the environment, society and the economy has emerged from this G7 offering a new way of looking at the future.”

The fact that the 6 members, excluding the USA, confirmed yet again loudly and clearly that “the Paris Agreement would remain irreversible, non-negotiable, and the only instrument possible to combat climate change” must not be underestimated. While they hope to be able to continue to engage in a constructive dialogue with Trump, they make it clear that for them, there is no alternative position on climate change.

The so-called “Bologna roadmap”, an attachment to the final communiqué is of particular interest. This is a five-year agreement, subject to periodical revision, that provides for a series of concrete actions to increase the efficiency in the use of resources.

Closing the summit, Minister Galletti passed the baton to Catherine McKenna, the Environment Minister from Canada, which is where the next G7 summit will be held.