On 26 and 27 May 2017, Italy will host the meeting of the G7 leaders. The G7 summit is a forum that plays an important role in shaping global responses to global challenges and complements the global economic coordination carried out by the G20. It brings together leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the EU. This summit follows the G7 Summit in Japan in 2016 and will focus on the global economy, foreign policy, security of citizens, and environmental sustainability.

World leaders expect President Donald Trump to announce this week whether the U.S. will remain in the landmark Paris climate accord as they gather for the summit. A U.S. State Department spokeswoman has not said when Trump would announce his decision. However, a White House spokesman had previously said the president would make his choice after meeting with G-7 leaders.


A U.N. panel of climate scientists found that it is at least 95 percent probable that man-made greenhouse gas emissions — especially burning fossil fuels — are the main cause of climate change since 1950. In each of the past three years, global average temperatures have hit record highs, and the continued warming of the planet is projected to cause worsening droughts, sea level rises, floods, heatwaves and extinctions of wildlife.

The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016. To date, 153 parties have ratified the Agreement.


On the campaign trail, President Trump repeatedly promised to “cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of US tax dollars to UN global warming programs.” President Trump had called global warming a “hoax,” a “con,” and “a concept created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” Although recently President Trump has stated that he “has an open mind” on the Paris Agreement, there is a fierce debate within his administration on whether to withdraw.

Environmental groups have said that withdrawing from the global accord would have significant consequences. As the richest nation and the second-largest polluter, U.S. efforts are central to keeping climate change from hitting an irreversible tipping point, unleashing catastrophic floods, droughts and storms, according to researchers.

In its most recent Quadrennial Defense Review in 2014, the Pentagon predicted that climate change will increase sea levels, temperature and severe weather patterns, and concluded that “the pressures caused by climate change” would be “threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions — conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.”

Pressure has also come from a broad coalition of corporate leaders and business groups, including DuPont, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, BP, General Mills, Google, PG&E, The Hartford, GE, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Cargill, General Motors, Bank of America, Intel, American Express, AT&T, Monsanto, Procter & Gamble, Nike, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Walmart and NRG Energy, and 280 investors representing more than $17 trillion in assets who released a statement Monday saying climate change must be an “urgent priority” for all G-20 nations. Executives have warned that Trump would put U.S. companies at a disadvantage if he pulled out of the pact.

The Paris Agreement is also popular with the majority of American voters. In a nationally representative survey conducted last November after the election, The Associated Press found that seven in 10 registered voters say the U.S. should participate in the Paris climate agreement. Only 13 percent say the U.S. should not.

Trade analysts have noted that the risks of withdrawing from the Paris would also include the possibility of trade reprisals. Countries that tax emissions of carbon dioxide pollution could place a carbon tariff on imports of American-made goods. The EU currently charges polluters fees for carbon emissions, while China, Mexico and Canada are in the process of carrying out such programs.

There are still some who advocate for the US to withdraw from the Paris agreement. They argue that the Paris Agreement is based on a fundamental misconception of climate history and science. The key misconception is that all of the warming since the Industrial Revolution — 0.9 degrees Celsius — is a result of human activity, when in reality, it might be naturally caused. If that is the reason, the Paris agreement will have no effect on global warming.

Others argue that the Agreement does not go far enough in requiring countries (especially China and India) to lower emissions, and that in aggregate, the promised emissions reductions will barely affect anticipated warming. MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change calculates the improvement by century’s end to be only 0.2 degrees Celsius.  Comparing projected emissions to the baseline established by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change back in 2000 shows no improvement at all.

The mining industry in the US is also fiercely opposed to the Paris Agreement. The National Mining Association’s board of directors voted Tuesday to endorse a withdrawal from the climate agreement.

It is up to the current administration and Congress to decide whether to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. There are many supporters and as many detractors. The reality is that the true effect that the provisions of the Agreement will have on global warming remains to be seen. What is certain is that the consequences of whatever decision the administration makes, will be long lasting for the United States as a nation, and for the planet. The seriousness of the current situation in regards to global warning cannot be overstated, and it is vital that we demand and that our government gives the appropriate thought and consideration to such an important decision.


President Donald Trump recently signed an Executive Order denying federal funding to sanctuary cities – jurisdictions that choose not to cooperate with federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants. The order states that sanctuary cities “that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law.”

What is a Sanctuary City?

Sanctuary city is a name given to a city in the United States that follows certain procedures that shelters undocumented persons and do not permit municipal funds or resources to be applied in furtherance of enforcement of federal immigration laws. These cities generally do not permit police or municipal employees to inquire about a person’s immigration status.

Most often, sanctuary policies prevent or otherwise limit state and local officers’ ability to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests. A detainer request asks for local law enforcement agencies to notify ICE prior to releasing an individual from local custody, and to hold him for up to 48h, excluding weekends and holidays, so that ICE can arrange to take over custody enforcement. Some sanctuary policies allow for notification to ICE about an individual charged or convicted of certain offences or is a sex or arson registrant.

The sanctuary movement started in the 1980’s when about a million Central Americans, mainly from El Salvador and Guatemala, crossed the U.S. border-seeking asylum from their repressive governments and seemingly never-ending civil wars. The Reagan administration was supporting these governments’ (especially the governments of El Salvador and Guatemala) attempts to fight communist rebels and therefore, the administration would only characterize Salvadorans and Guatemalans as “economic migrants, not eligible for asylum.” Hundreds of churches in the U.S. openly defied the U.S. government and its immigration policy by providing safe havens for Central Americans.  Influenced by the sanctuary movement, San Francisco passed the “City and County of Refuge” Ordinance in 1989, which barred city money from being used to enforce immigration law. Hundreds of U.S. cities and counties have followed suit and adopted similar “sanctuary” laws or policies.

The procedures that establish a sanctuary city can be by law or by action (de facto). A sanctuary city is created by law when there is a written policy enacted by a local government body in the form of a resolution, ordinance, or administrative action. San Francisco currently has one of the most detailed written policies regarding its status as a sanctuary city.

Are Sanctuary Cities in Compliance with the Law?

Sanctuary cities exemplify the principle of separation of powers between the federal and state governments stated in the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution. The Tenth Amendment limits the power of Congress to regulate by directly compelling local jurisdictions to enact and enforce a federal regulatory program (New York v. United States (1992) 505 U.S. 144, at 161). Since the federal government has the exclusive authority to enforce the civil provisions of federal immigration law relating to issues such as admission, exclusion, and deportation, Congress is prohibited by the Tenth Amendment from passing laws requiring states to administer civil immigration.

In 1996, the federal government enacted two pieces of legislation which prohibit state or local governments from restricting voluntary communication with the federal government regarding the immigration status of any individual: § 434 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA, 8 U.S.C. § 1644) and § 642 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA, 8 U.S.C. § 1373). Both pieces of legislation were designed to authorize communication by state and local law enforcement agencies with federal immigration authorities regarding the status and presence of undocumented immigrants, but they did not mandate communication or reporting.

The Supreme Court has held that states can enact laws that promote cooperation between local law enforcement and the federal government on immigration matters. In 2012, the United States Supreme Court in U.S. v. Arizona upheld state legislation that requires state and local law enforcement officers to make a reasonable attempt to ascertain the immigration status of persons involved in a lawful stop when officers have a reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present. The Court found that the state provision did not conflict with federal law, but instead fostered the cooperation expressly encouraged in federal law between federal officials and state and local officials.

Thus, although states can choose to cooperate with the federal government on immigration matters, they are not required to do so, and sanctuary cities, insofar as they refuse to cooperate with ICE on immigration enforcement, are in their legal right to do so.

The Constitutionality of the recently signed Executive Order

The new Executive Order signed by President Trump specifically mandates that “the Attorney General and the [Homeland Security] Secretary, in their discretion and to the extent consistent with the law, shall ensure that jurisdictions (sanctuary cities) that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 Communication between government agencies and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary.” Section 1373 states that “a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.”

There are serious constitutional problems with conditioning federal grants to sanctuary cities on compliance with Section 1373, and in fact, unless interpreted very narrowly, the Executive Order might be unconstitutional. In the case of Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, the Supreme Court held that the federal government may not impose conditions on grants to states and localities unless the conditions are “unambiguously” stated in the text of the law “so that the States can knowingly decide whether or not to accept those funds.” Few if any federal grants to sanctuary cities are explicitly conditioned on compliance with Section 1373. That condition must be passed by Congress, and may only apply to new grants, not ones that have already been appropriated. The executive is not permitted to, at any time, make up new conditions and impose them on state and local governments without prior notice. Doing so undermines two constitutional principles that are basic to the US system of government, the separation of powers and federalism.