WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump talked to the leaders of Germany, France, Canada and Britain by telephone to personally explain his decision to abandon the landmark Paris climate agreement, the White House said today.
The White House did not say whether Trump talked to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the UK's Theresa May before or after he announced his decision. It, however, said the president "reassured the leaders that America remains committed to the Transatlantic alliance and to robust efforts to protect the environment."
During the phone calls, Trump reiterated that the US will be the "cleanest and most environmentally-friendly country". "The leaders all agreed to continue dialogue and strengthen cooperation on environmental and other issues going forward," the White House said. Last week, some of the leaders had tried to convince Trump at the G7 Summit Sicily to not walk away from the 2015 deal.
Reports said that not everything was well between German Chancellor Merkel and Trump over the issue. Merkel supports the deal.
A senior White House official told reporters that Trump in his renegotiations wants to find out if there is a "common ground" on the issue. According to the official, there's no question that former president Barack Obama's climate pledge under the Paris agreement would have undermined America's competitiveness. "It would have been the nail in the coffin for US manufacturing across the industrial sub-sectors - steel, cement, paper, chemicals," the official said.