Trump skips climate meeting, touts his environmental record

Source: By Scott Waldman, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2019

President Trump skipped a meeting on climate change today at the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France.

After telling reporters he was going to attend the climate session, Trump opted out because of “scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India, so a senior member of the Administration attended in his stead,” spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Trump touted his environmental credentials at a news conference at the summit’s conclusion.

“I’m an environmentalist,” Trump said. “I think I know more about the environment than most people.”

Separately, as the G-7 meeting drew to a close, Axios reported that Trump once discussed bombing hurricanes with nuclear weapons to prevent them from hitting the U.S. Scientists have said that scheme, which was examined decades ago, wouldn’t stop storms but would instead broadcast nuclear radiation.

Trump’s skipping of the climate meeting comes after a July speech in which he tried to reframe his policy of rolling back environmental protections while boosting fossil fuel production as beneficial for the Earth as well as the American economy. It also comes as other world leaders work together on climate policy after the Trump administration announced it would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement next year.

For the first time in recent memory, G-7 leaders declined to issue a final joint statement because the U.S. wouldn’t sign on to climate-related provisions.

Trump officials said they supported a $20 million effort to help battle wildfires in the Amazon.

French President Emmanuel Macron dismissed concerns that Trump was not present during the climate talks because other U.S. officials did attend.

“You shouldn’t read anything into the American president’s absence,” Macron said, adding, “the U.S. are with us on biodiversity and on the Amazon initiative.”