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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt attended the G7 Environment Minister’s Summit in Bologna, Italy, laying out the America’s continued leadership in environmental protection, while establishing a new way forward. Pruitt made clear the U.S. takes a backseat to no country in protecting the environment, but made it equally clear, the Paris climate agreement was neither the only way nor even a good way to protect the environment and thus the U.S. was withdrawing from the treaty.
In a press release Pruitt said, President Donald Trump’s decision “to withdraw from the Paris Agreement … reflect[s] … the new priorities of the Trump Administration and the expectations of the American people.
“Respective of the importance to engage with longstanding allies and key international partners, we approached the climate discussions head on from a position of strength and clarity. We are resetting the dialogue to say Paris is not the only way forward to making progress. Today’s action of reaching consensus makes clear that the Paris Agreement is not the only mechanism by which environmental stewardship can be demonstrated,” said Pruitt.
The United States did not join in the portions of the official G7 Communique on climate change or multilateral development banks, which reaffirmed the other G7 countries commitments to the Paris climate agreement. Pruitt, representing the Trump administration, did join the other G7 environment ministers recommitting to reaching the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development goals, including providing financing for sustainable development, wise resource use, and the need to reduce and clean up marine litter (particularly plastics).
I’m personally skeptical of even the UN’s sustainable development goals since they are predicated upon a Malthusian view of the world’s resources as finite, as opposed to humans being the ultimate resource, discovering ever new ways of conserving and putting resources to use – using less to deliver more – and a belief that the present generation of UN bureaucrats are wise enough to understand what resources exit, how best to use them, and what not just present but future generations of people will consider valuable and the uses resources can be put to for decades in the future.
Having said that, it’s refreshing to have a President who understands his job as putting Americans, their need for jobs and aspirations for a better life for them and their children, first. Not bowing down international climate mandarins. Economic growth and environmental quality can go hand in hand, but the UN would restrain the former, to promote the latter, with the result that ultimately the environment suffers.