Trump skips out on G-7 climate meeting, citing busy schedule

BIARRITZ, FRANCE (CBS) — President Trump skipped a climate meeting with fellow world leaders at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France on Monday, further fueling concerns over the administration’s lack of interest in combating the effects of climate change. During the scheduled working session on climate, biodiversity and oceans, U.S. pool reporters did not see the president and asked the White House to confirm if he was a no-show.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham replied with a statement saying, “The President had scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India, so a senior member of the Administration attended in his stead.”

This is not the first time the president has skipped out on attending a climate-related event. Mr. Trump did not attend last year’s G-7 climate session in Quebec City either.

Mr. Trump, over the course of his presidency, has undone many of President Obama’s environmental initiatives, withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement and rolling back regulations like the Clean Power Plan. The president has also expressed skepticism about government research that shows carbon emissions are warming the planet and warns of potentially catastrophic consequences if the trend continues.

The president, meanwhile, has claimed his administration is working to improve the environment, insisting the environment and economy go hand in hand. The economy, however, has presented an equally troubling issue for the administration as it continues to wage an all-out trade war with China.

It’s a position he reiterated at the close of the G-7 summit, telling reporters that he considers himself “an environmentalist” but at the same time said it was important to him to maintain America’s wealth as an energy exporter.

“I’m not gonna lose that wealth. I’m not gonna lose it on dreams, on windmills,” said Mr. Trump.

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