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World Leaders Forge Ahead on Paris Agreement Despite Uncertain United States

TAORMINA, Italy  – Six of the world’s largest economies today reaffirmed their support for the Paris Agreement and its continued implementation at a meeting of the G7 in Taormina, Sicily.

The meeting was attended by heads of all G7 member nations, and ended today. While the leaders reached consensus on the need to harness economic opportunities and job creation offered by the clean energy transition and to provide support to developing countries, the US deferred announcing its continued endorsement of the Paris Agreement.

In response, WWF issued the following statements:

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF’s global Climate & Energy Practice said: “Leaders from six of the world’s largest economies made it clear that climate change remains a top priority and they showed their commitment to delivering on the Paris climate deal. This is heartening, even though the US is still wavering. The co-benefits of a transition to a clean energy future include job creation, innovation opportunities and growth, and G7 leaders acknowledged that today. Their commitment to support developing countries, including with financial support, is critical to ensuring we keep warming below 1.5°C. They must take this spirit to the G20 meeting in Germany in July.”

Lou Leonard, World Wildlife Fund's senior vice president of climate change and energy said: "On his first trip abroad, President Trump found a world -- from its major economies to Pope Francis -- united in support of climate action and the Paris Agreement. It’s deeply troubling that the US would not join world leaders in endorsing the Paris Agreement, particularly in light of the overwhelmingly clear support for the Agreement expressed by the major players in the real American economy including over 1000 US businesses large and small. It is more obvious than ever that American business, states, universities and cities have picked up the mantle of US leadership on climate change while over 3 million Americans are employed in the clean energy economy and solar and wind jobs are growing at 12 times the national average. Even so, lasting solutions to our global crises have always required clear political leadership and we strongly encourage the Trump Administration to take steps to fully implement US participation in the Paris Agreement. The future of the US economy and of global security cannot afford to see the US backtrack on the progress it has made.”

Gaetano Benedetto, CEO of WWF-Italy said: “We recognize the leadership and determination of the Italian Presidency and EU countries to keep climate at the top of the global political agenda: the final G7 Communique is a sign that they have been able to agree on the facts and opportunities. The impact of climate change is a more pressing issue than ever. Each country has a moral responsibility to act. We appreciate that the Italian Presidency and other countries supporting the Paris accord, while taking on a collaborative spirit, did not give up on principles and the urgency to act now. Now, we ask the Italian Government to show more courage and determination than ever in climate action in Italy and in the EU: it is a duty towards citizens and future generations. Future deadlines, from the National Energy Strategy to the Decarbonisation Strategy, will be further opportunities to build authoritativeness also at international level.