US CLIMATE STANCE A MINORITY OF ONE AT G-20 - WORLD LEADERS REAFFIRM COMMITMENT TO PARIS ACCORD

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10 july 2017

World Leaders Voice Dissent against U.S. Climate Stance

Nations reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris accord at the Group of 20 summit, highlighting U.S. isolation

By Jean Chemnick, ClimateWire via Scientific American on July 10, 2017


US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a panel discussion on the second day of the G20 summit on July 8, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. Credit: Ukas Michael Getty Images

Nineteen countries with major economies reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement over the weekend, highlighting U.S. isolation a month after President Trump pulled the United States out of the deal.

In the official communiqué and a separate action plan adopted Saturday at the close of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, leaders made it clear that America stands alone in rejecting emissions commitments and in promoting fossil fuels as a remedy for energy poverty abroad.

“In the end, the negotiations on climate reflect dissent—all against the United States of America,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel, president of the summit, told reporters Saturday.

“I deplore this,” she said of Trump’s decision to leave the Paris accord.

Saturday’s statement was the product of extended negotiations by staff and two days of leader-level talks, though Trump missed most of the climate and energy discussions Friday to meet bilaterally with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The final language did less to “gloss over” the differences on climate between the United States and the rest of the world than American negotiators had sought, Merkel said. Trump’s team brought proposed text to Hamburg calling for leaders to “take note” that “the United States of America will endeavor to work closely with other partners to improve their access to and use of fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently.”

But that didn’t pass muster with French President Emmanuel Macron and his team. The French were tasked with negotiating the final climate language with the United States, and Macron viewed America’s promotion of fossil fuel use as antithetical to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

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