G20 draft statement on climate change crafted to appease Trump, per report

Leaders of the world’s top industrialized nations are reportedly planning to issue a watered-down statement on the best ways to fight climate change in an effort to appease President Donald Trump when they meet in Argentina later this week.

Unlike recent G20 statements on climate change, the draft statement does not give its full support to the 2015 Paris climate agreement, Climate Home News reported Monday. Under the landmark Paris agreement, each country must determine, plan, and regularly report on its contributions to mitigating global warming.

The G20 draft statement also does not mention the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recent report, which found that the world has only a dozen years to fend off catastrophic climate change. The text of the document may change, though, before it is released when leaders meet on Friday and Saturday in Buenos Aires.

The draft document also sharply differs from a statement issued by the foreign ministers of the European Union and Central Asia on Friday. That statement expressed “deep concern about the new evidence on the negative impact of climate change” presented by the IPCC, which “unequivocally confirmed that current global efforts to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”

During a 2017 summit in Hamburg, Germany, G20 leaders issued a powerful statement on climate change in which all countries but the U.S. agreed that the Paris climate agreement was “irreversible.”

The draft statement for the upcoming summit will need to change for Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the U.K. to agree to accept it, a former European negotiator, who worked on the G7 and G20 statements in 2017, told Climate Home News. These nations, however, will likely propose changes that will clash with what the United States wants, the source said.

At the 2017 G20 summit, world economic leaders clearly sought to isolate the Trump administration’s anti-climate action stance, with 19 of the G20 countries affirming their commitment to the Paris climate agreement. At the time, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said she “deplored” the U.S. exit from the climate agreement.

On June 1, 2017, a month prior to the G20 summit in Germany, Trump announced in a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House that he planned to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. The president’s announcement was widely condemned not just internationally but by U.S. cities and states that immediately pledged to commit to meeting emissions reduction targets.

But as president of the G20 this year, Argentina is “clearly caving in to the request of the U.S. and as a consequence we have such a weak and unbalanced draft,” the source told Climate Home News.

Immediately after the G20 meeting ends, leaders will travel to Poland for COP24, or the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The conference will run from December 2 through 14.

At COP24, U.N. member countries are expected to work out and adopt a package of decisions to ensure the full implementation of the Paris climate agreement.

Despite the Trump administration’s widespread climate science denial, its own National Climate Assessment concluded that, without aggressive action, climate change will increasingly threaten Americans’ economic well-being. The 13 federal agencies that signed off on the assessment also agreed that climate change has already wreaked havoc on the United States and the worst is likely yet to come.

Source: thinkprogress