US and Japan Refuse to Sign G7 Pact Against Plastic Pollution

“The facts are clear. Our oceans are a mess.”

The G7 summit ended up being particularly tumultuous this past weekend, intensifying  disputes between the US and its closest allies and turning what is usually a staid diplomatic event into a battleground for national interests.

Members were unable to even agree on a pact about plastic pollution at the summit held in La Malbaie, Quebec, in Canada on June 7 and 8, according to the Globe and Mail.

The United States and Japan both refrained from signing the charter, which calls on countries to reduce single-use plastics, prevent plastic from entering the world’s oceans, clean up existing plastic pollution, and invest in technologies for monitoring the impacts of the problem.

The G7 Ocean Plastics Charter was signed by representatives from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Britain, and the European Union, all of whom vowed to join the global fight against plastic waste.

“We ... commit to move toward a more resource-efficient and sustainable approach to the management of plastics,” the pact reads.

A footnote in the document clarifies the US position.

“The United States strongly supports healthy oceans, seas, and resilient coastal communities,” the statement reads. “The United States has announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and reserves on the climate-related language in the Blueprint.”

In other words, the US is opposed to global agreements that mention climate change, as evinced in the country’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

It’s unclear why Japan chose not to sign the measure, according to the Globe and Mail.

Canada, as the host country, committed $100 million to fight plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, the Globe and Mail reports.