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Analysis

May feeble in confronting Trump on climate change

by Hugo Dixon | 01.06.2017

The prime minister doesn’t seem to have done much to try to persuade Donald Trump not to pull out of the Paris climate change deal – and her criticism when he did was mild to a fault.

At a press conference early yesterday, Theresa May said she’d made clear the “importance we attach to the Paris agreement” when she saw the US president at the G7 last week. But she added that it was up to the US what it decided to do. That, of course, is a statement of the obvious – but it also suggests that the prime minister didn’t invest much diplomatic capital in trying to save the planet.

After Trump’s announcement yesterday, the prime minister spoke to the US president and told him of her “disappointment“. But she didn’t sign a joint condemnation from France, Germany and Italy.

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Maybe this is nothing to do with Brexit. Maybe it’s just Theresa May’s non-confrontational character – though that hardly squares with her delight in being called a “bloody difficult woman”.

Or maybe global warming just isn’t her priority. After all, she abolished the climate change department when she became prime minister. Although she had to get rid of some cabinet posts to make room for the new Brexit and international trade secretaries, David Davis and Liam Fox, she could have axed a different one.

But perhaps May’s seeming reluctance to tell Trump that America needs to do its share to save the planet was a sign of our post-Brexit weakness. With our influence in the EU declining – so much so that Germany’s Angela Merkel no longer thinks Europe can completely depend on us – we are having to curry favour with rogues and rascals further afield. Maybe it’s that which makes our fearless premier reluctant to take Trump to task. If so, that’s doubly sad.

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This piece was updated on June 2 to take account of Trump’s declaration

Edited by Luke Lythgoe

2 Responses to “May feeble in confronting Trump on climate change”

  • When Theresa May stated she was a very difficult woman she should have explained. She certainly is difficult. Difficult to get an answer, to any question from. She is very difficult to get a coherent strategy from about anything from a Tory manifesto to a brexit plan. She informs us she spends her time thinking about these serious matters but has nothing to offer to allay our fears. She talked a lot about being strong and stable but then could not make up her mind. She tells us Jeremy would appear alone and naked in negotiations with Europe but what we are seeing is Jeremy being coherent and having planned and costed an ambitious manifesto. Not once in any television interview has she appeared prepared ,strong or stable and when she is asked a difficult question she just switches back to the same old diatribe and if that fails she tries to insult Jeremy. Embarrassing is what she is and I really hope she is not leading the brexit negotiations nor any of her circus clowns either.