US President Donald Trump on Saturday declined to endorse the Paris climate accords, ending his first foreign trip much as he began it — at odds with several of the nation’s allies and under a cloud of questions back home about his ties to Russia.
Trump refused to bend on the pact after three days of contentious private debate and intense lobbying by other leaders that began on Wednesday with an appeal by Pope Francis. The six other nations in the G7 reaffirmed their commitment to cutting greenhouse-gas emissions in a joint statement issued on Saturday.
The stalemate leaves the US’ future role in the climate accord in flux, although Trump promised to make a decision in the week ahead on whether the US would be the first of 195 signatories to pull out.
Trump left Italy on Saturday afternoon, returning to a White House in crisis after a nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe that was bookended by new disclosures about links between his aides and Russia.
The climate accord was the most vivid sign of division between the US and its allies, but it was not the only one: Trump also scolded Germany for its trade practices and lectured NATO members for not adequately supporting the alliance.
“There was a lot of give-and-take between the different countries in the room,” White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn said.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he had told Trump it was “indispensable for the reputation of the United States and for the Americans themselves that the Americans remain committed” to the climate agreement.
Trump’s apparent reluctance to embrace the first legally binding global climate deal that was signed by 195 countries clearly annoyed German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying,” she told reporters. “There are no indications whether the United States will stay in the Paris Agreement or not.”
The G7 statement provides the US more time to resolve internal White House debates about whether to pull out of the pact.
It says the US is “in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics.”
However, Trump has told “confidants,” including US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, that he plans to leave the landmark agreement, AXIOS Media reported on Saturday, citing three sources with direct knowledge.
On Saturday, Trump said on Twitter that he would make a decision on whether to support the Paris climate deal this week.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A source who has been in contact with people involved in the decision told Reuters a couple of meetings were planned with chief executives of energy companies and big corporations and others about the climate agreement ahead of Trump’s expected announcement later in the week.
It was unclear whether those meetings would still take place.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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