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U.S. withholding its endorsement of climate pact

By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and MARK LANDLER

TAORMINA, Italy – President Donald Trump declined to endorse the Paris climate accords on Saturday, saying he would decide in the coming days whether the United States would pull out of the 195-nation agreement.

Trump’s lack of a decision after three days of contentious private debate and intense lobbying by other leaders came even as the six other G-7 nations reaffirmed their commitment to cutting planet-warming emissions in a joint statement issued Saturday afternoon.

The lobbying essentially ended in a stalemate, with Trump remaining opaque about his intentions regarding the 2015 pact as he prepared to return home after a nine-day overseas trip. The impasse underscored the continuing division between the United States and its allies about the global environmental pact.

The joint communique made clear that all the G-7 nations except the United States remained determined to carry out the Paris agreement. It said: “Expressing understanding for this process, the heads of state and of government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom, and the presidents of the European Council and of the European Commission reaffirm their strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement.”

Trump made the announcement on Twitter before the joint statement was officially released:

The reaction was swift and critical. Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said: “President Trump’s continued waffling on whether to stay in or withdraw from the Paris Agreement made it impossible to reach consensus at the Taormina summit on the need for ambitious climate action. But he stands in stark isolation.”

The G-7 statement provides the United States more time to resolve internal White House debates about whether to pull out of the pact. It says the United States 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.”

Advocates for stronger action to confront climate change said the message from the joint statement was that Trump remained unconvinced of the accords’ value.

Trump has long railed against what he says are the economic dangers of the global climate agreement. More flexibility was a central demand by the president, who says the accords could be costly for American businesses and drain jobs in the United States.

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