The federal Environment Minister says she has told the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency directly and also in a meeting with her G7 counterparts that Canada is extremely disappointed with the Trump administration's decision to pull out of the Paris accord on climate change.
Catherine McKenna met with Scott Pruitt, the Administrator of the EPA, and the environment ministers of the other developed nations in the G7 in Bologna, Italy, over the weekend where, according to Ms. McKenna, the planned American withdrawal from the 2015 international agreement to combat global warming was widely scorned.
The Minister's face-to-face denunciation of the U.S. decision to abandon the accord comes as the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is asking a German news magazine to correct a report that said Mr. Trudeau tried to avoid provoking U.S. President Donald Trump by asking German Chancellor Angela Merkel to remove mentions of the Paris accord from a statement on climate change that is to be issued after next month's meeting of G20 leaders in Germany.
Mr. Trump announced earlier this month that the U.S. will bow out of the international effort to avert the worst impacts of climate change, saying the Paris agreement would create job losses in the American coal, oil and natural gas industries, and in the manufacturing sector.
"I expressed Canada's deep disappointment in the decision by the United States to walk away from the global consensus of the Paris agreement during a bilateral meeting with Mr. Pruitt and also at the table of G7 environment ministers," Ms. McKenna told reporters on Monday during a teleconference from Italy. "I also reiterated our commitment to work with provinces as well as states, cities, businesses and all actors committed to building on ambitious climate action under the Paris agreement."
Since the Trump announcement on June 1, many states, including California and New York, and large numbers of U.S. cities have said they intend to continue to enact policies aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
Despite the scientific evidence, Mr. Pruitt has been publicly skeptical that human activity is a leading cause of climate change. He left the G7 environment ministers meeting after only a few hours, said Ms. McKenna. The remainder of the U.S. delegation were largely quiet, she said.
While the U.S. was being "relegated to a footnote on climate action," said Ms. McKenna, Canada and the remaining participants at the meeting – France, Italy, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Union – reaffirmed the commitment to the swift implementation of the Paris agreement and the need to urgently tackle climate change.
In this country, Mr. Trudeau signed an agreement last December with 11 of the 13 provinces and territories to put a price on carbon that would help Canada meet the 2030 target for curtailing emissions that was pledged in Paris.
Ms. McKenna said she talked with the other G7 environment ministers about that deal, as well as measures being taken on clean growth, carbon markets, innovation and trade, financing for developing countries that are coping with the effects of climate change, resource efficiency and marine litter.
Ms. McKenna was asked about a report in the German news magazine Der Spiegel on June 9 that said Mr. Trudeau had suggested to Ms. Merkel in a telephone call that all mentions of the Paris agreement be struck from a planned G20 statement on climate change as a way to garner Mr. Trump's support.
The Minister replied that her understanding was "that this was an incorrect translation … We are absolutely committed to climate action and the Paris agreement and we have been extremely vocal about this."
The Prime Minister's office said later in an e-mail that it has asked the magazine for a correction.
"The characterization of the call in the article is incorrect," said Cameron Ahmad, a Trudeau spokesman. "In his call with the Chancellor, the Prime Minister emphasized the shared commitment to combatting climate change, strengthening environmental protections, and pursuing clean energy and sustainable development."
When asked in the daily question period in the House of Commons to clarify if he did or did not suggest to Ms. Merkel that references to the Paris accord be removed from the G20 statement, Mr. Trudeau replied: "No, I did not say that."