President Trump dominated the headlines late last week when he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, Germany on the sideline of the G20 Summit that saw the American leader standing alone on the international stage with his America First agenda in policy areas related to the environment and trade.
President Trump’s first bilateral meeting with Putin overshadowed the rest of the G20 Summit in Germany where world leaders declared a commitment to take measures to eliminate child labor by 2025, forced labor, human trafficking, reduce inequality, and work to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by world leaders at the UN in September 2015.
In the G20’s final declaration, world leaders took note of the decision of the United States to withdraw from the historic Paris Agreement that sets out a global action plan to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels through self imposed “nationally determined contributions” emission reductions and build resilience to climate change impacts in developing countries with a collective goal of mobilizing $ 100 billion per year by 2020 from developed countries and provide more support for capacity building and appropriate technology.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama pledged earlier that the U.S. would lower emissions by 26- 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2025 and to make best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28 percent while pledging $3 billion of which the U.S. has already paid $1 billion.
On June 1st President Trump decided that the U.S. would cancel the Paris Agreement as he touts the benefits of “clean coal” which environmentalists claim is simply a myth.
President Trump also criticized the lack of financial oversight with the Green Climate Fund which he claimed nobody even knows where the money is going to and then relied on a 2015 study from Massachusetts Institute of Study whose own author John Reilly disagrees with Trump’s mischaracterization that a full implementation of the Paris Agreement would only lead to two tenths of one degree Celsius reduction in global temperature by 2100.
Trump cited questionable economic data the American Council for Capitol Formation, which receives financial support from the fossil fuel industry including Exxon Mobil and the Koch foundation.
The American Council for Capitol Formation, which opposes the Paris Agreement, has overstated the real cost of climate legislation as they have failed to consider possible benefits in their research.
Republicans, led by President Trump, have been wary of supporting the Paris Agreement because of the imbalance about the way emission reduction targets are addressed within the framework and for sending billions of U.S. taxpayer money overseas to the developed world.
The United States, as a developed country, would be expected to impose “economy wide absolute emission reduction targets” much earlier than developing countries such as China and India which “should continue enhancing their mitigation efforts, and are encouraged to move over time towards economy-wide emission reduction or limitation targets in the light of different national circumstances.”
Under the Paris Agreement, China has agreed to peak carbon emissions by 2030 while “making best efforts to peak early” and lower carbon dioxide intensity (carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP) by 60 to 65 percent from the 2005 level while expanding the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20 percent.
On a per capita basis, the developed world produces more greenhouse gasses than the developing world.
The United States contributes more than double greenhouse gasses than China, according to 2013 data from World Resources Institute, as measured by metric tons of CO2.
During the G20 Summit in Germany, the other G20 leaders minus President Trump declared that the Paris Agreement is irreversible.
Concerning international trade, G20 leaders declared that they will continue to fight protectionism and keep markets open while “noting the importance of reciprocal and mutually advantageous trade and investment frameworks and the principle of non-discrimination.”
President Trump declared on his own today that the G20 Summit was a “great success” for the United States and he explained that the U.S. must fix the many bad trade deals it has made.
The G 20 Summit was a great success for the U.S. – Explained that the U.S. must fix the many bad trade deals it has made. Will get done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus repeated Trump doctrine on Sunday during Fox News Sunday when he maintained the Paris Agreement was unfair and would be damaging to the U.S. economy and hurt American jobs.
“It’s really not a disagreement on the environment. It’s a disagreement on the Paris agreement itself, and the fact that we don’t want to be hamstrung by an agreement that’s going to hurt the American worker across the country that the president has pledged to support” Priebus said.
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