President Donald Trump will meet with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni at the White House Thursday, about 10 days after the administration refused to sign onto a G7 statement endorsing the Paris climate agreement.
Italy is one of several European countries lobbying the White House to stay party to the Paris agreement, which Trump promised to “cancel” while on the campaign trail. It’s unclear if Trump and Gentiloni will discuss global warming during their meeting.
The meeting comes about 10 days after Energy Secretary Rick Perry informed G7 members the U.S.“is in the process of reviewing many of its policies and reserves its position on this issue, which will be communicated at a future date,” according to a statement issued by Italy’s industry and energy minister Carlo Calenda.
The Trump administration would not sign onto a statement mentioning Paris until the president decided whether or not to honor his campaign pledge. The Paris agreement went into effect in 2016.
White House officials were supposed to meet Tuesday to discuss the Paris agreement, but that meeting was postponed. Trump holds the ultimate decision on whether or not to bail on the international agreement brokered by the Obama administration.
European countries were also hesitant to sign Perry’s insistence the G7 statement include support for coal and natural gas during their April meeting in Rome.
Perry specifically pushed for a commitment to “[h]igh efficiency, low-emission coal and natural gas with adequate financing from multi-lateral development banks and private sector investment” while meeting with energy ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the European Union.
Calenda said other G7 members “reaffirmed their commitment towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement to effectively limit the increase in global temperature well below 2°C above pre-industrial level.”
President Barack Obama committed the U.S. to cut emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025.
Trump’s already signed executive orders to scale back key policies Obama relied on to meet his 2025 pledge, including the Clean Power Plan regulation limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
While most on the right support ditching Obama-era climate rules, there seems to be a divide over whether or not to stay party to the Paris agreement.
Energy corporations, including ExxonMobil and Cloud Peak Energy, want Trump to stay in the Paris agreement, joining Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other White House aides.
White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and Environmental Protection Agency Administration Scott Pruitt want to pull out of the Paris agreement.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank, is circulating a petition asking Trump to keep his campaign pledge to pull out of the Paris agreement.
“Failure to withdraw from the Paris Climate Treaty will make President Trump’s plans to undo Obama’s climate agenda vulnerable to legal challenges,” Myron Ebell, director of energy and environment policy at CEI, said in a statement.
“The President should not listen to Washington’s Swamp, but rather keep his campaign promise to get the United States out of the Paris Climate Treaty and send it to the Senate for a vote,” said Ebell, who headed Trump’s EPA transition team.
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