In the recent G20 Summit held in Osaka, Japan, the world’s 20 biggest economies clashed over the issue of climate change. US president Donald Trump pushed for the watering down of commitments to combat climate change.
Reportedly, he pressured countries including Brazil, Turkey, Australia, and Saudi Arabia to join him to keep away any references to the Paris Agreement from the final summit communique.
The Climate Change Deadlock
In response to the US move to weaken the G20 commitment towards the environment, French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly called climate change a “red line” issue and threatened to veto the final statement of G20.
Reportedly, Macron told a group of French citizens in Tokyo, “If we don’t speak about the Paris Agreement, and if, to come to an agreement in a meeting of 20, we are no longer able to defend our climate goals, it will be without France,”
“It’s simple,” Mr. Macron said. “It will be without France,” he repeated.
Similar to the last year’s summit in Argentina, the US pulled out of the climate agreement and declared its non-commitment to deliver on its goals.
The US Withdrawal
Similar to previous G20 Summit statement, the current statement by G20 iterates the position of US on climate change in a separate section.
It notes that the US is withdrawing from the Paris Agreement because “it disadvantages American workers and taxpayers.” The US reaffirms its strong commitment “to promoting economic growth, energy security and access, and environmental protection.” It claims that US is a world leader in reducing emissions.
The US is adopting an approach that “allows for the delivery of affordable, reliable, and secure energy to all its citizens while utilizing all energy sources and technologies, including clean and advanced fossil fuels and technologies, renewables, and civil nuclear power, while also reducing emissions and promoting economic growth.” the statement added.
The “sherpas” – officials who lay the fundamental groundwork for the leaders at international summits – reached to a conclusion on Saturday (29 July 2019) after lengthy discussions on agreeable wording for the statement.
After US withdrawal, the other 19 Signatories to the Paris Agreement “who confirmed (in the last G20 summit) at Buenos Aires its irreversibility”, reaffirmed their “commitment to its full implementation,”
In the statement, they emphasized “the importance of providing financial resources to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in accordance with the Paris Agreement.”
“We’ve succeeded after days and nights of negotiations to have again, after all, a 19 to 1 declaration, where the 19 signatory countries of the Paris Agreement commit to the same things as we did in Buenos Aires,” said Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel in a statement.