Monday, June 12, 2017

PMO disputes German magazine report that Trudeau feared ‘provoking’ Trump on climate change


PMO disputes German magazine report that Trudeau feared ‘provoking’ Trump on climate change

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says Canada remains “deeply disappointed” in U.S. move to drop out of Paris climate deal

A German magazine was incorrect when it reported Trudeau was concerned about provoking the U.S. for withdrawing from the Paris agreement, according to a Trudeau spokesperson.
A German magazine was incorrect when it reported Trudeau was concerned about provoking the U.S. for withdrawing from the Paris agreement, according to a Trudeau spokesperson.  (MANDEL NGAN / AFP/GETTY IMAGES)  
OTTAWA—The Prime Minister’s Office is disputing a report in a German magazine that described Justin Trudeau’s concern about “provoking” the United States for withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement.
The account in Der Spiegel said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel phoned Trudeau last Tuesday, when they discussed the contents of a communiqué at next month’s G20 summit in Hamburg. The draft statement asked member countries to sign off on their continued commitment to the global pact to fight climate change, the report said.
Trudeau suggested striking out references to the Paris agreement in the communiqué, and seemed “concerned about further provoking his powerful neighbour to the south,” the magazine reported.
Cameron Ahmad, a spokesperson in Trudeau’s office, called the report “incorrect” and referred to a summary of the phone call with Merkel that the PMO released last week. It says the leaders “reaffirmed their commitment to multilateralism, combating climate change, strengthening environmental protection, as well as pursuing clean energy and sustainable development.”
They also spoke about the upcoming G20 summit, the summary says.
Speaking to reporters Monday after a weekend meeting with her G7 counterparts in Italy, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna dismissed the Der Spiegel report as an “incorrect translation.” She said Canada remains “deeply disappointed” in the U.S. move to abandon the accord, and that it was “very sad” to see the Americans reduced “to a footnote on climate actions.”
McKenna also said that all G7 members except the U.S. — France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union — inked a statement at the meeting that expressed their joint commitment to the “swift and effective implementation of the Paris agreement.”
“We’re absolutely committed to climate action and the Paris agreement and we’ve been extremely vocal about this,” McKenna said, adding that she made this position clear in her bilateral discussion with her American counterpart, Scott Pruitt, at the meeting.
She also said she told Pruitt that the accord is “not open for renegotiation, although we are in the phase of negotiating the rules.”
The U.S. has said it is open to renegotiating the accord, arguing that it imposes less stringent emissions standards on China, India and others.
“The momentum around the Paris agreement is irreversible,” McKenna said.
The decision earlier this month by U.S. President Donald Trump to drop out of the climate pact appears to have cracked open a policy fissure between the U.S. and some of its longstanding partners, including Canada. Last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland argued in a seminal speech to the House of Commons that Canada can no longer rely on the U.S. for global leadership.
That came after Trump met the leaders of other G7 countries for their own summit in Italy. Following that meeting, the other members of the group agreed to reaffirm their support of the Paris deal.
The pact involves more than 190 countries pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to prevent the worst-case scenarios of climate change this century. The Trudeau government committed to the same targets set by their Conservative predecessors: curb emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
To get there, Ottawa plans to phase out coal-fired energy, impose carbon pricing regimes on the provinces and regulate methane emissions, among other measures.
McKenna also reiterated on Monday that Canada can work with other players in the U.S. to curb emissions and find business opportunities for clean tech and other industries.
“The U.S. is bigger than one administration, and we’re going to be moving forward with the states, cities and businesses in the United States that are committed to serious climate action,” McKenna said.