US official makes brief appearance at G7 environment summit

"Italy and the overwhelming majority of countries regard Paris as irreversible and non-negotiable", Italian Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti said after the first day of a two-day gathering of G7 environmental chiefs in Italy.

The G7 is made up Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, the world's seven biggest economies when the club was formed.The discussions in Bologna were also attended by Chile, the Maldives, Ethiopia and Rwanda, four developing countries with a particular interest in combatting climate change.

Pruitt attended the first few hours of the two-day G-7 summit before returning to the USA for the Trump administration's first Cabinet meeting, White House officials told reporters.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni have said the Paris agreement can not be renegotiated, urging their allies to speed up efforts to combat global warming.

With Germany's environment minister, Barbara Hendricks, also departing early and France's Nicolas Hulot not arriving until Monday because of legislative elections, there appeared little prospect of substantial bridge building on an issue which has caused significant tensions between Donald Trump's administration and key U.S. allies.

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Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, has said the Paris accord would undermine the USA economy, cost jobs, and put the country at a permanent disadvantage compared to its competitors. Pruitt was scheduled to fly back to the United States on Sunday because he has a meeting with Trump but declined to comment on the talks or how the meeting was proceeding.

In a statement the EPA said Pruitt had emphasized it was time to move forward and find ways to engage with other countries to protect and use USA natural resources.

According to Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Pruitt told delegates that Washington wanted to continue making efforts in combating climate change.

Trump has said Washington will not be bound by the targets on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases set down in Paris, and will cut funding for developing countries affected by climate change.

Pruitt heads the Environmental Protection Agency for Trump, who recently announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal.

"The bottom line is that the Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States", Trump said.

But many analysts say Trump's rhetoric may make little difference.

"I don't see how the US will handle this when on the one hand it says yes it will indeed reduce emissions yet on the other hand it won't apply the instruments that have been created for this objective", she said.

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