Here’s the scenario: A few months into the new administration of a climate-skeptical Republican president, with the fate of an ambitious U.N. climate change agreement in the balance, the leaders of the world’s biggest industrialized countries head to Italy for a high-profile summit.
It’s a story the world has seen before.
With the 43rd Group of Seven talks about to get underway in Taormina, on the Italian island of Sicily, and the 4-month-old Trump administration on the fence on what it will do about the Paris Agreement, veteran climate observers recall that a nearly identical scene played out under President George W. Bush. Some worry that history could repeat itself this weekend.
Back in 2001, ahead of the 27th edition of what was then the Group of Eight, world leaders were pushing hard for the newly elected Bush to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Like Trump, Bush worried that implementing an emissions-reducing pact could cripple the U.S. economy.
In each case, the previous Democratic administration — those of Presidents Clinton and Obama, respectively — negotiated the climate deal its successors had to grapple with.