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G7 ministers fail to adopt united stance on climate change

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This photo shows energy ministers from the G7 industrial nations posing for a picture during their meeting in Rome on April 10, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Energy ministers of the G7 group of industrial nations have failed to form a united front in dealing with climate change issues as the United States expresses doubts about the commitments made by the group members under the Paris agreement.

Carlo Calenda, the Italian minister for economic development, who chaired the G7 ministerial meeting in Rome on Monday, said the ministers had failed to reach an agreement on a joint statement on climate change after the US expressed reservations.

Calenda said his country, which currently presides over the G7, avoided proposing the joint statement as it lacked unanimity.

He said Washington had "reserved its position" on the text of the statement, expressing doubts about the commitments made by the G7 countries under the 2015 Paris climate deal.

Italian Minister for Economic Development Carlo Calenda answers reporters' questions during a G7 meeting, in Rome, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by AP)

The Paris Agreement, hailed by many as the framework for action against global warming, has faced criticism from the new US administration. 

US President Donald Trump has censured the deal and during his presidential campaign he said the agreement mainly benefited countries like China and that it was against US industrial interests.

In March, Trump signed an executive order, rolling back some of the policies adopted by the previous administration on carbon emissions and climate change.

His plan eases restrictions for coal-fired power plants and lowers some benchmarks for vehicular pollution.

Experts say the policies almost guarantee that the United States will fail to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Under the deal, Washington pledges to contribute financially to poor countries badly exposed to drought, flood, rising seas and other climate impacts. Some reports suggest Trump is unwilling to provide such aid.

The White House said in March that it would announce ahead of the G7 meeting whether the US would pull out of the Paris Agreement. According to US media reports, there have been deep divisions on the issue among senior members of the US administration.

Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US make up the G7. 

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