Before last week's G20 summit there was much speculation on how discussions on climate change would be addressed considering Trump's decision to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. So how did it all go? Here are the top 5 things we learned...
1. The US is alone on it's decision to ditch the Paris Agreement
The summit was closed by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who said she deplored the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement but she said the other 19 members of the G20 agreed that the Accord was “irreversible” and that they remained committed to it.
2. US influence remains detrimental
The fact that 19 countries remain committed to the agreement could be seen as a massive acheievement given that many were concerned that America's withdrawal could encourage other countries to follow. However, there were sacrifices. Particularly concerning is the lack of commitment in the final communiqué to increasing ambition in national climate action plans. This is essential if we are to have any hope of sufficiently curbing emissions.
3. Theresa May seems more interested in trade deals and “special” relationships than climate change
Theresa May again failed to use her time with President Trump to address climate change. Reports are unclear on whether or not she even brought up the subject. Instead she seemed set on prioritising a US-UK trade deal. Yet another indication that the Government's focus on Brexit is hampering our efforts to curb climate change.
4. Key American figures believe the US can meet Paris Agreement obligations despite US withdrawal
There is mounting evidence that the US is commited to renewable energy despite Trump's efforts to cling on to fossil fuels. Hundreds of Mayors recently endorsed a switch to 100% renewable energy by 2035. And following last week's G20 Summit, Al Gore told reporters that “the United States will meet or exceed its Paris Agreement emissions targets despite an increasingly isolated President Donald Trump.”
5. The time for talking has ended. Action is required now
Despite all the political negotiations and the writing and rewriting of text agreements it seems clear that we need action not words.
Before the G20 Summit even started last week leaders were accused of “talking out of both sides of their mouths” as it was revealed that “G20 public finance for fossil fuels 'is four times more than renewables".
Here in the UK we are told that “despite having the relatively low target of getting 15 per cent of all energy from renewables by 2020, the UK still has more ground to make up than all other European Union countries except three.”
As the Paris Agreement stands at the moment the “world’s climate will not stay within safe limits”. We need to be increasing national ambitions not failing to meet the targets already set.
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