At G20, Merkel and May push trump to stay in Paris Climate Agreement
It’s not too late to bring the US back into the global mainstream on climate change action, and with the US outnumbered 19 to 1 at the G20, world leaders are hoping they can convince US President Donald Trump not to bail on the Paris Climate Agreement.
By Jeremy Bloom
On the other hand, this is Trump we’re talking about here, and the chances of him responding to global pressure are about as likely as North Korea’s mad-dog President Kim Jong-un suddenly deciding to drop his nuclear weapons program and send everyone in his prisoner-nation on a free trip to Disneyland.
Come what May
British Prime Minister Theresa May, who for all her many faults (and weaknesses, after barely squeeking back into office after last month’s UK elections) is at least on the right side of climate change, told the BBC, “I hope they will be able to find a way to come back in to the Paris agreement … I believe it is possible. We are not renegotiating the Paris agreement, that stays, but I want to see the U.S. looking for ways to rejoin it.”
Technically, that’s pretty easy to do: Even though Trump officiously announced the US would be pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement last month, it takes four years for the official exit process. So he doesn’t even have to rejoin; all he has to do is un-quit.
“The collective message that will be given to President Trump around this table,” May said, “will be the importance of America coming back in to that agreement and I hope we will be able to work to ensure that can happen.”
But again, this is Trump we’re talking about. And as conservative site The Daily Caller points out, in Trump’s mind the Paris Climate Agreement was a crowning achievement of President Barack Obama. And described Trump’s feelings on Paris as: “Obama did not do a good job negotiating the terms of the accord – Trump claimed that the U.S. would be willing to re-enter the deal under different terms.”
We’ll always have Paris
But he’s going to be disappointed if he thinks either he will be able to renegotiate Paris – May and Merkel say that’s off the table – or blow it up by walking away.
Word out of Hamburg is that the draft of the final communique to be released by the G20 states that the Paris Climate Agreement is “irreversible”. And that the 19 other members stand by it, despite Trump’s bluster. “We remain collectively committed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions through, among others, increased innovation on sustainable and clean energy and energy efficiency, and work towards low greenhouse gas emission energy systems.”
Leaders of the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – were calling on a full implementation of Paris despite the US, as are the small countries that would be most hard hit, like Fiji.
Merkel (facing her own election in September) called for everyone to be reasonable. “We all know the big global challenges and we know that time is pressing,” she declared. “And so solutions can only be found if we are ready for compromise and move toward each other, but without – and I stress this – bending too much, because of course we can also state clearly when there are differences.”
“All 20 countries found something in common: They point to energy security as a “guiding principle” for transforming their energy systems and promise to work on “open, flexible and transparent markets for energy commodities and technologies.”
There’s talk that the US wants wording about “working closely with other partners to help their access to and use of fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently”, but why would the others agree to that if they get nothing in return from Trump?
“We are not going to paper over the differences but rather, we will call discord discord,” Merkel said.