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Will He or Won't He? G-7 Leaders Hope to Sell Trump on Climate Accord

05-26-2017
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President Donald Trump is meeting with world leaders Friday at the G-7 summit in Sicily.

The annual meeting brings together the leaders of the world's largest economies – the United States, Italy, Britain, France, Germany, Canada and Japan – to discuss global problems and possible solutions.

The president is expected to address global security and trade protections at the gathering. However, the biggest issue dominating the summit is whether Trump will pull America out of the 2015 Paris Agreement to fight climate change.

European leaders mounted a campaign this week to sell the U.S. commander in chief on the merits of the global agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

"All others have confirmed their total agreement on the accord," Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni told reporters. "We are sure that after an internal reflection, the United States will also want to commit to it."

Even the Vatican appealed to the president on the matter.

"They were encouraging continued participation in the Paris accord," U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said. "We had a good exchange on the difficulty of balancing climate change, responses to climate change and ensuring that you still have a thriving economy, you still offer people jobs so they can feed their families and have a prosperous economy."

"That's a difficult balancing act," he noted.

During his presidential run, Trump pledged to ditch the accord. But Gary Cohn, his top economic adviser, indicated the president's views on the matter are "evolving"  and that he's open to "what the Europeans have to say."

"I think he's leaning to understanding the European position," Cohn told a pool reporter. "Look, as you know from the U.S., there's very strong views on both sides. Both sides are running ads."

"So he knows that in the U.S., there's very strong opinions on both sides," he said. "But he also knows that Paris has important meaning to many of the European leaders. And he wants to clearly hear what the European leaders have to say."

Trump's advisers said the president wouldn't be making a decision until after he returns to Washington.

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