AP

The environment ministers from Group of Seven (G7) nations are meeting in Italy on Sunday and Monday to discuss a path forward on mitigating climate change. But U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt left the summit after attending only one meeting for a few hours.

Pruitt had to return to Washington to attend President Donald Trump’s first full Cabinet meeting on Monday, Reuters reported. But he was in Italy long enough to pose for a photo op and issue a statement that is questionable given his early departure.


“I believe engaging in international discussion is of the utmost importance to the United States when it comes to environmental issues,” Pruitt said in a statement from the EPA.

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The two–day summit comes less than two weeks after Trump’s announcement that he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accords, which Pruitt had been strongly pressuring Trump to scrap.

In April, weeks before Trump made his decision public, Pruitt appeared on Fox & Friends to criticize the accord, saying it was a “bad deal for America,” The Washington Post reported. “It was an America second, third, or fourth kind of approach,” he said.

Pruitt was joined in Italy by representatives of private companies including UPS, CITI Group, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, saying the private sector plays “an integral role in environmental stewardship.”
 


Just before Pruitt’s departure, environment ministers from Germany, France, the U.K., Canada, Japan, and Italy had criticized the Trump administration for leaving the Paris agreement, the Associated Press noted.

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According to the AP:

Among those pushing hardest to maintain international momentum on combating global warming is Germany, which hosts this year’s annual climate summit in November. Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks met Friday with California Gov. Jerry Brown to demonstrate that Germany is prepared to work with individual U.S. states if Trump refuses to be part of the Paris effort any longer.

On Friday, Germany’s Environment Ministry joined France’s Foreign Ministry in correcting the Trump administration’s falsities on climate change and the Paris agreement. German officials actually fact–checked Trump’s June 1 speech and posted it on their website.

“In his speech on the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, delivered on 1 June 2017, US President Donald Trump made a series of claims to justify his decision. We have put these claims to the test, with results that reveal blatant fallacies. Mr Trump’s speech does not stand up to fact-checking in decisive points. A selection of these follows,” Germany’s Environment Ministry stated.

This follows France’s Foreign Ministry trolling Trump last week by editing a propaganda video on the Paris agreement put out by the White House. France sought to set the record straight on the accord, the ministry said at the time.

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After Sunday morning’s G7 meeting, U.N. Environment Executive Director Erik Solheim said, “We cannot allow one nation to derail what 190 other nations are happy to do,” Reuters reported.