While terrorism may top President Donald Trump’s agenda, European leaders keep pressing him on climate change and the environment.
French President Emmanuel Macron worked on Trump during lunch Thursday, urging the U.S. president not to ditch the 196-nation Paris Agreement on climate change before getting on a plane to Sicily, Italy.
“My wish is that the United States takes no hurried decision,” Macron said Thursday after meeting with Trump in Brussels.
Trump arrived to this seaside community late Thursday for the Group of Seven conference where allies will talk about a series of issues from trade to Russia. But Trump’s position on the Paris accord—particularly his pledge to leave the accord—is one of the most urgent matters for European leaders, who are committed to keep the Americans involved.
Ever since he left the Middle East, Trump has been reminded how important the issue is to U.S. friends in Europe.
At the Vatican, Pope Francis handed Trump his 181-page encyclical, “Laudato Si” (“Praise Be”), that largely blames man for climate change.
The Paris agreement challenges countries of the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming. The accord, which went into force in November 2016, is considered the world's most comprehensive plan to date for fighting climate change.
The Trump campaign pledged to pull out of the deal, which Trump has criticized as being bad for American workers. And he called climate change a “hoax” created by China.
The administration delayed its decision until after its five-country, nine-day foreign trip through the Middle East and Europe. Allies have taken the opportunity to try to take the administration’s temperature on the issue and press him during their time in this beautiful ancient city on the importance of protecting the earth.
Senate Democrats joined the push. In anticipation of the conference, 40 Senate Democrats signed a letter to the president urging him not back out of the international agreement.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters on Air Force One on Wednesday that a decision on the agreement had yet to be made.
He called it a “difficult balancing act” to address climate change while keeping the economy thriving.
“We're still thinking about that,” Tillerson said. “He hasn't made a final decision.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will also be at the G7, told supporters Tuesday at a meeting on the environment that she would press the administration.
“I am still trying to convince the doubters,” Merkel said.