G20 leaders unmoved by Trump’s Paris withdrawal
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July 17, 2017
G20 leaders unmoved by Trump’s Paris withdrawal

President Donald Trump’s stated desire to work out a better “deal” for the United States by either replacing or renegotiating the Paris Climate Accord attracted little, if any, interest at the July 7–8, 2017, meeting of G20 leaders in Hamburg, Germany. In their concluding declaration (Shaping an Interconnect World), the leaders state that they “take note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement,” but made it clear the United States was on its own.

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“The Leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible,” the declaration states. “We reaffirm our strong commitment to the Paris Agreement, moving swiftly towards its full implementation in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances.”

U.S. will help access fossil fuels

The United States used the meeting to formally announce that it will immediately cease implementation of the nationally determined contribution the Obama administration committed to under Paris; specifically, a 26 percent to 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to the U.S. 2005 level by 2025 and best efforts to reduce emissions by 28 percent.

The G20 declaration states that the United States “affirms its strong commitment to an approach that lowers emissions while supporting economic growth and improving energy security needs. The United States of America states it will endeavor to work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently and help deploy renewable and other clean energy sources, given the importance of energy access and security in their nationally-determined contributions.”

Green Climate Fund

The declaration includes an annex (G20 Hamburg Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth), which, in the context of the Paris Accord, outlines several strategies that will allow nations with vastly different circumstances to transition to affordable, reliable, sustainable, efficient, and clean energy technologies that have low GHG emissions.

The G20 leaders also reiterated the importance of fulfilling the commitment by developed countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation actions in line with the Paris outcomes. These actions are being supported internationally by the Green Climate Fund, which the United States has also exited by order of the president. In his speech announcing the U.S. departure from the Paris Accord, the president said the Green Climate Fund would cost the United States “billions and billions and billions” of dollars. The actual U.S. commitment to the fund was $3 billion, which is about twice as much as Japan’s commitment, the next highest.

The United States also opted out of G20’s annex.

“The United States is currently in the process of reviewing many of its policies related to climate change and continues to reserve its position on this document and its contents,” the G20 states, referring to the annex.

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