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Published on November 27th, 2018 | by Joshua S Hill


G20 Nations Reportedly Set To Kowtow To Trump On Climate Change

November 27th, 2018 by  

A reported draft version of a communique being formulated by leaders of the G20 in advance of the 13th meeting of Group of Twenty to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, starting Friday, fails to back the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and makes no mention of the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C which warned that “Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

G20 Leaders in 2017

According to Climate Home News, which reported on Monday that it had seen a draft version of the document — which is thus still subject to change — the draft communique fails to back the Paris Climate Agreement, instead, simply “acknowledging the different circumstances, including those of countries determined to implement the Paris Agreement.” Further, the draft nods in the direction of those countries intent on defending their continued use of coal, saying that there are “varied” energy choices and “different possible national pathways.”

Further highlighting the weakening stance of G20 nations’ willingness to stand up to climate obstructionists like the United States and Australia, there is no mention of the IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C which was published earlier this year and which warned that “Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

There is also no mention of the upcoming COP24 climate talks to be held in Katowice, Poland, starting a day after the G20 meeting ends on Saturday.

There was some hint of the possibility of a weakening of the G20’s stance on climate change earlier this month, when Argentina’s G20 sherpa (emissary) Pedro Villagra Delgado spoke to the media, saying that the drafting of this communique, and the section referencing the Paris Climate Agreement, was proving to be the “most complicated” aspect. “Of course, we want the Paris Agreement to be mentioned, but we want it to be mentioned, encompassing everyone, albeit in an ambiguous way,” he said. “The United States does not say that nothing should be done [about climate change], but that they do not want to have neither the obligations nor the goals imposed by the Paris Agreement.”

“The more assertive mentions are made, the more likely it is that the United States will stay away from it,” he concluded.

The draft communique will be a notable departure from recent language employed by supranational bodies, including most recently a statement issued by the foreign ministers of the European Union and Central Asia last Friday. The relevant portion of the statement reads:

“The Participants expressed their resolve to enhance their cooperation to tackle the growing threats to the environment and the serious challenges posed by climate change. They expressed their deep concern about the new evidence on the negative impact of climate change presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (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. They stressed the need for urgent and effective action in line with the Paris Agreement.”

Most disappointing, maybe, is the dramatic shift in language compared to last year’s G20 Leaders Declaration which, while acknowledging “the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement” nevertheless stated that the “Leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible.

“It seems many G20 leaders don’t have the courage to stand up to defend science and their own commitments to climate action,” said May Boeve, Executive Director at 350.Org. “This is a glaring example of how those who claim to represent us are not willing to do what it takes to protect us from catastrophic climate change and to lead us through the needed transition to sustainable energy systems.

“Politicking isn’t going to cut it. While so-called ‘leaders’ refuse to act – or even to acknowledge the overwhelming scientific evidence in support for a global shift away from fossil fuels- we see more people prepared to step up to fight for a just transition to a fossil-fuel free world.

“We will keep fighting in courts, building alternatives, divesting our savings, and blocking polluting projects as there is no time to waste.”

“This is just a draft communique, subject to change,” said Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan. “But whatever the final wording is, the outcome will not change the reality of climate change nor diminish the concerns of vulnerable nations who only last week demanded at their own summit accelerated climate action. Those voices of the vulnerable will be front and centre at COP24 next week, when every country will be asked to ramp up action in light of the IPCC’s 1.5°C special report. There is no time to waste, but there is still time if we collectively act now.”

This article will be updated to include further comment as it becomes available.  

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

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