The Group of 20 almost unanimously supports efforts to combat climate change. One nation deviated from that protocol: The United States, under President Trump.
To that end, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who hosted the so-called G-20 summit, spoke on behalf of the other 19 nations when she called for global determination to keep temperature increases to no more than 2 degrees Celsius by mid century unstoppable. As such, governments can set the tone and establish the regulations but it is big business that must buy in.
“The leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible,” they said in a statement.
Leading institutions, municipalities and businesses are in support of the G-20. Consider: WeAreStillIn is comprised of such companies as Acer, Adidas, Adobe, eBay, Amazon, Mars, Evian, Nest Labs, Nestle, Netflix and Nike. They are among many companies that are vocal about the issue of climate change, not just for environmental reasons but also for economic ones. Part of the G20 summit focused on global trade and protectionism and U.S.-based companies do not want to be singled out because their government won’t join climate efforts.
Meantime, dozens of global cities that call themselves the C40, have committed to 100% renewable energy targets. Mayors from those cities say that the long term prosperity of their cities cannot be based on burning fossil fuels. The days of the internal combustion engine are running out and fossil fuel free streets are now the future of our cities.
“In the U.S., it is local and state governments, along with businesses, that are primarily responsible for the dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. Actions by each group will multiply and accelerate in the years ahead, no matter what policies Washington may adopt.”
Chancellor Merkel of Germany, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Prime Minister Theresa May of Great Britain, President Xi Jinping of China are taking the lead. While the developing nation of China has set its own individual targets, by 2020, the European Union wants to have:
- 20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels)
- 20% of EU energy from renewables
- 20% improvement in energy efficiency
Obviously, Trump is the odd man out — a man who has described himself as the master negotiator. To that end, some members of the G20 think that the United States will try to find a way back into the climate discussions. As it stands now, the Paris accord is a voluntary agreement and each nation is free to alter its pathway to reduced C02 emissions.
“I think it’s very clear that we could not reach consensus, but the differences were not papered over, they were clearly stated,” Merkel told reporters at the end of the two-day meeting, as reported by Reuters.
Meantime, French President Macron said that his nation will host on December 12 — two years after the initial Paris accord — a meeting to facilitate additional climate action on the “financial front.”
Why does the G20, generally, feel the Paris accord is “irreversible?” Global companies and especially those technology-oriented enterprises based in the United States are moving forward to cut their carbon emissions. It’s not just boosting their brands. It’s also saving them money.
The U.S., specifically, is already on course to meet the objectives set by the Obama administration — to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030, from 2005 levels. Beyond the switch from coal-to-natural gas, it’s also a function of America’s Internet dynamos that have pledged to consume nearly all of their electricity from sustainable sources.
Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Intel — to name a few — are actively working to cut emissions and to get Trump back in the game. Others, such as Tesla’s Chief Executive Elon Musk, are protesting the positions taken by the United States and are refusing to meet with the president.