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story.lead_photo.caption French President Emmanuel Macron, Egyptian President and Chairman of the African Union Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a work session Monday focused on climate in Biarritz, southwestern France, on the third day of the annual G7 Summit. For more photos, see

BIARRITZ, France -- U.S. President Donald Trump skipped a discussion on climate with other world leaders at the Group of Seven summit in France, later saying he knows "more about the environment than most people."

Trump was scheduled to attend Monday's session on climate, biodiversity and oceans, but didn't, leaving an empty chair as the heads of other developed nations debated Monday how to help the fire-stricken Amazon and reduce carbon emissions. French President Emmanuel Macron, the summit host, shrugged off the absence, noting that Trump's aides attended.

"You shouldn't read anything into the American president's absence," Macron said, adding, "The U.S. is with us on biodiversity and on the Amazon initiative."

Trump started the morning behind schedule, and during the climate discussions he held one-on-one meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both leaders also attended a portion of the climate meeting.

Asked at one point Monday morning about attending the climate session, Trump said it would be his next stop and that he wants clean air and water. But he never arrived.

At the end of the summit, Trump called himself an environmentalist, pointing to his time as a property developer and his work on federal forms explaining the impact of his projects on the environment.

"A lot of people don't understand that I have done more environmental impact statements probably than anybody -- I guess I can say definitely, because I've done many, many, many of them," Trump said. "More than anybody that's ever been president or vice president, or anything even close to president. And I think I know more about the environment than most people."

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Trump is a climate change skeptic who withdrew the United States from the 2015 Paris climate accord. Macron said it wasn't his goal to try to persuade Trump to rejoin the accord, arguing that "you can't rewrite the past."

At the time of the U.S. withdrawal from the accord, Trump said it would undermine the economy. The president said Monday that the U.S. has generated "great wealth" during his time in office, and "I'm not going to lose that wealth on dreams, on windmills -- which, frankly, aren't working all that well."

His comment came after the Energy Department released a report finding employment in the wind-power industry has risen to a record 114,000 full-time jobs. It's also the cheapest new source of electricity in many regions of the U.S.

"We think the president is making a political miscalculation in his comments on wind energy," Tom Kiernan, chief executive officer of the American Wind Energy Association, said in a statement.

Trump has said wind turbines are "monstrous," are "killing all the eagles," and "they say the noise causes cancer." In addition, wholesale power prices surged 40,000% earlier this month in Texas, in part because output from wind farms fell during a heat wave. And in the U.K., more than a million homes lost power on Aug. 9 after turbines in the North Sea tripped offline.

Trump said Monday that the U.S. is "the No. 1 energy producer in the world," citing its oil and gas wealth.

"We've become a much richer country, and that's a good thing, not a bad thing. because that great wealth allows us to take care of people," Trump said. "We can take care of people that we couldn't have taken care of in the past because of the great wealth. We can't let that wealth be taken away. Clean air, clean water."

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who attended Monday's climate talks, expressed hope that Americans would take steps toward renewable energy and fewer carbon emissions, even if their president doesn't.

"I am very optimistic about American society and its capacity to deliver in relation to climate action," he told reporters. "What matters here is to have a strong engagement of the American society and of the American business community and the American local authorities."

Greenpeace France isn't so optimistic. It said Monday that the summit was "a new failure of climate diplomacy. Macron above all produced anecdotal initiatives that badly hide his failure to raise ambition of the G-7 climate goals, and his own inaction in France."

Information for this article was contributed by Sylvie Corbet, Darlene Superville, David McHugh and Angela Charlton of The Associated Press; and by Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Christopher Martin and Josh Wingrove of Bloomberg News.

A Section on 08/27/2019

Print Headline: Trump absent from G-7 climate session


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Archived Comments

  • wowy
    August 27, 2019 at 3:59 a.m.

    It's a scam and TRUMP knows it . . .
    "Thank you God for President Trump !!!"
    ( you're the Man!!!)

  • TuckerMax
    August 27, 2019 at 4:08 a.m.

    The certainty of intellectually lazy people, even in the face of the obvious, sometimes amazes.

  • JakeTidmore
    August 27, 2019 at 5:54 a.m.

    Climate change is real. See h ttp://ww w.realclimate.or g/
    Those who say otherwise are ignorant of the facts and mistakenly or mendaciously polluting this conversation with untruths about climate change.
    "It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us into trouble. It's the things we know that just ain't so." - A popular observation most often attributed to Mark Twain, as well as to fellow humorists Artemus Ward, Kin Hubbard and Will Rogers.
    What Trump "knows" just ain't so. And why should anyone trust a pathological liar like him??
    Dump Trump 2020!! Out with the bad, in with the good!!
    Sic semper tyrannis.

  • JakeTidmore
    August 27, 2019 at 5:57 a.m.

    Compared with a decade ago, more Americans today say protecting the environment and dealing with global climate change should be top priorities for the president and Congress. A majority of U.S. adults (56%) say protecting the environment should be a top priority for the president and Congress, while a smaller share (44%) says the same about dealing with global climate change, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey.
    A majority of Americans see at least some effect of climate change where they live. In 2018, about six-in-ten Americans (59%) said that global climate change was affecting their local community a great deal or some. Those who said this explained how they see such effects in a number of ways. Many pointed to changes in the weather, including increasing frequency of severe storms, droughts, floods and wildfires (45% of those asked cited this reason).

    Rising sea levels could endanger coastal communities, which are especially vulnerable to floods and storm surges. Our 2018 analysis found that two-thirds of Americans who live within 25 miles of a coastline (67%) say climate change is affecting their local community at least some, compared with half of those who live 300 miles or more from the coast.

  • JakeTidmore
    August 27, 2019 at 5:59 a.m.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 70 percent of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, want the United States to take “aggressive” action to combat climate change - but only a third would support an extra tax of $100 a year to help, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday.
    The results underscore a crucial challenge for Democrats seeking to unseat President Donald Trump in next year’s election. Many will have to balance their calls for strict environmental regulation with a convincing argument for why the changes are good for taxpayers and the economy.

    “There isn’t any doubt climate change has emerged as an important issue in this election,” said G. Terry Madonna, Director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College. “But when it comes to how you will pay for it, that’s what can make a big difference.”

  • JakeTidmore
    August 27, 2019 at 6:05 a.m.

    More conservatives supporting climate change scenario:
    htt ps://w ww.newamerica.or g/political-reform/reports/prospects-climate-change-policy-reform/section-2-data-and-polling-on-the-current-support-for-climate-change/
    A 2016 study conducted by researchers from Cornell University indicates that moral foundations theory may offer viable frameworks to use for mitigating political polarization around climate change.21 Moral foundations theory (MFT) posits five different classes of moral values: care/harm (compassion/harming); fairness/cheating; in group loyalty/betrayal; authority/subversion; and sanctity/degradation (purity), which suggests that conservatives and liberals operate from different moral frames. The Cornell study points to compassion and fairness as the relevant moral foundation for liberals who support action on climate change and points to the moral foundation of purity (sanctity/degradation) as a potentially useful frame for conservatives.

    Additionally, researchers at the University of Cologne found in a 2016 study that conservatives are more responsive to climate messages rooted in the past, while liberals were more responsive to forward-looking climate change messages.
    When it comes to renewables, however, a variety of options poll relatively well. A December 2018 Yale report30 on politics and global warming found that:

    81 percent of Republicans support funding more research on renewable energy
    71 percent of Republicans support providing tax rebates to people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels
    60 percent of Republicans support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant
    48 percent of Republicans support setting strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming and improve public health, even if the cost of electricity to consumers and companies would likely increase
    49 percent of Republicans support requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax and using the money to reduce other taxes (such as income tax) by an equal amount

    August 27, 2019 at 7:42 a.m.

    Climate change is real - has been since the beginning of the earth. The earth is currently cycling out of an ice age --- aka: warming.
    The question is -- how much is human activity influencing the rate of warming - since the earth would still be warming if there were no humans.
    The next question -- since it seems that the US has reduced the emissions thought to increase the warming - and India and China are the major producers of such emissions - would taking the US back to the stone age really make a difference?
    We've already had fake numbers produced to skew UN climate reports. And science has become political. At this point, the truth is not the truth. This is not only a sad position to be in, but is no position to be in when determining the future of our economy and lifestyle.

  • LRCrookAtty
    August 27, 2019 at 8:38 a.m.

    Facts hurt "progressive's" minds (what little they have). You have to just believe the talking points and everything will be okay.

  • BoudinMan
    August 27, 2019 at 8:59 a.m.

    The photograph above is the best representation of trump to come out of this summit. An empty chair.

  • hah406
    August 27, 2019 at 9:48 a.m.

    MBAIV, your first question is legitimate and we should continue to seek an answer to "how much," but not debate if we are or are not contributing at all. Your second question poses a hypothesis. Should we work with China, India, and other large industrial powers to reduce their emissions as well, or should we just say there is no hope and go ahead and set the rest of the world on fire? The Amazon fires are a sign of things to come. Get ready to breathe less.