POLITICS

Catherine McKenna: Canada Not Interested In Renegotiating Paris Agreement

06/12/2017 03:20 EDT | Updated 06/12/2017 05:04 EDT
Chris Wattie / Reuters
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks about the U.S. air strikes in Syria during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, April 7, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he did not ask German Chancellor Angela Merkel to consider keeping all mentions of the Paris climate change accord out of the upcoming G20 leaders meeting statement to placate U.S. President Donald Trump.

German publication Der Spiegel had reported on a call between the two leaders last week, saying Trudeau wondered about the potential downside of striking mentions of the accord from the communique in order to not further provoke Trump.

Merkel is playing host to the G20 meeting in July.

PMO asks for correction

On Monday, Trudeau was pressed on his comments by NDP leader Tom Mulcair.

"No, I did not say that," Trudeau said.

The Prime Minister's Office has made a request for a correction to the article, but they have not sought to clarify Trudeau's remarks to Merkel, saying only she knows where he stands on the matter.

Trump said earlier this month he intends to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement unless it can be renegotiated. On Monday, the United States refused to sign onto a G7 pledge calling the Paris climate accord the "irreversible" global tool to address climate change.

catherine mckenna

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Canada will not support renegotiating the Paris agreement. (Photo: The Canadian Press)

The G7 environment ministers had issued the final communique after their two-day meeting, the first since the United States announced it was withdrawing from the pact.

In a footnote to the communique, the United States said it wouldn't join with the other six countries in reaffirming their Paris commitments, but said it was taking action on its own to reduce its carbon footprint.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Monday Canada will not support renegotiating the deal.

She said she made that clear to Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, during a 20-minute private conversation on the sidelines of a meeting of G7 environment ministers in Italy on Sunday.



"I also asked the United States to clarify its position that it wanted to renegotiate the Paris agreement," McKenna said in a conference call with reporters Monday. "I made it clear that the Paris agreement is not open for renegotiation although we are in the phase of negotiating the rules."

The Paris agreement was signed by 195 nations in December 2015 to outline what the world needs to do to limit the increase in temperature of the planet to less than two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.

The participants now have to negotiate the rules for implementing Paris, including how each country will report their efforts and progress, what kind of monitoring there will be and what can be done to promote compliance.

The agreement is non-binding. The U.S. will become the third country not to be part of Paris.

Neither Syria nor Nicaragua signed the deal in 2015. Nicaragua held out because it felt the agreement did not go far enough. Syria couldn't participate in the Paris negotiations because of sanctions against the government amid the ongoing civil war.

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