US allies in the G7 said today that action to contain devastating climate change was irreversible and could even be accelerated, despite Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris accord. A two-day meeting of environment chiefs from the Group of Seven club of industrialised democracies ended with the US again disassociating itself from a statement underlining the importance of implementing the 2015 Paris deal on curbing carbon emissions. Trump’s representative at the meeting, Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environment Protection Agency, was unrepentant, insisting US action spoke louder than words. “Respective of the importance to engage with longstanding allies and key international partners, we approached the climate discussions head on from a position of strength and clarity,” he said in a statement. “We are resetting the dialogue to say Paris is not the only way forward to making progress … (Paris) is not the only mechanism by which environmental stewardship can be demonstrated,” added Pruitt, who had left the meeting yesterday evening to attend Trump’s first full cabinet meeting today. French minister Nicolas Hulot said US allies were determined not to let Trump’s controversial climate stance “poison” cooperation on other ecological issues, and said the world could work around the US position, even though it is a damaging one. “The only legal framework for climate negotiations is the accord and objectives fixed in Paris and there is no doubt that they are irreversible,” said Hulot, a former TV star and a longstanding environmental campaigner who was persuaded to enter government by new French President Emmanuel Macron.
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Hulot said US commitments on other environmental issues, notably cleaning up the world’s plastic-choked oceans, were not in doubt, and the commitment of industry players to green technologies and renewable energy would not be affected by Trump’s position. While acknowledging that Trump’s ending of US financing for developing countries affected by climate change was an important setback, he said France and other countries were looking at ways of compensating through multilateral development banks. “The transition to a low-carbon economy is on the march and it has an irreversible dynamic, including in the United States,” he said in comments that played on the name of Macron’s Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move) party.