United States breaks with G7 on climate, development banks - statement

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Pruitt attended only the first couple of hours of the environment meeting Sunday and held a few brief bilateral meetings, including with the EU's Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, before flying home for a cabinet meeting at the White House.

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.

"We're absolutely committed to climate action and the Paris Agreement", Catherine McKenna told reporters following the meeting of the G7 environment ministers in Bologna, Italy on Sunday and Monday.

However, the US refused to sign a joint statement on climate change with the other G7 countries.

Japan rejected as a pointless exercise pleas by France, Germany and Italy for it to pledge support for the Paris Agreement on climate change in a joint statement immediately after U.S. President Donald Trump announced Washington was pulling out of the accord.

Its primary goal is to prevent Earth's global temperature from increasing 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 by significantly reducing the world's carbon-dioxide emissions.

Pruitt, however, said in a statement he is "resetting the dialogue" on the topic, and believes that the "Paris Agreement is not the only mechanism by which environmental stewardship can be demonstrated".

Erik Solheim, the head of the UN's Environment Program, called on the United States to lead global action on climate change, despite the Trump administration's ongoing assault on environmental regulations.

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Pruitt's departure comes just days after Trump announced the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a global pact created to fight against climate change.

All environment ministers but Pruitt agreed at the Italian meeting that Paris is irreversible, continuing the isolation of the world's biggest economy and second-biggest emitter.

But the United States pointedly did not sign on. Trump said the accord would hurt American workers.

"The prime minister does not oppose the Paris agreement from being discussed at the G20".

Trump cast his decision on Paris as best for the U.S. economy. The real driver behind dropping US emissions has been the shale boom, which has unlocked vast quantities of cheap shale gas that has displaced coal as the country's dominant source of energy.

Joining other G7 environment chiefs at talks in Italy, French minister Nicolas Hulot said United States 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 United States position, even though it is a damaging one. The timing of the previously planned meeting was right, days after Trump's decision - and through indications that China is preparing to take a more commanding role in fighting climate change. Trump says the deal will cost U.S.jobs and harm the economy.

A spokesman for Ms Hendricks said Germany would be looking for "something more concrete" from Mr Pruitt in terms of what the USA was going to do.