Blog Series: What remains of the G20 Hamburg Summit?
The result of this year’s G20 summit was not a major step forward in solving the climate problem. However, the confrontation with President Trump ended not in a full clash, but rather in a diplomatic climate dance – taking one step back, one step to the side, and one step forward. This presents an opportunity to continue with a climate tango from a new starting point in Argentina in 2018.
The Chairs of the Energy and Climate Task Forces of the Think20, together with Business20 and Civil20, published a Joint Statement to support a sustainable energy transition. On the occasion of the meeting of the G20 Energy and Climate Sustainability Working Groups on 22 and 23 March in Berlin, the Engagement Groups call on the G20 to step up and adopt three main provisions: First, the G20 should take the lead in implementing the Paris Agreement. Second, the G20 should drive towards carbon pricing mechanisms and agree on a time line for phasing-out fossil fuel subsidies. Third, the G20 should enable financial markets to deliver on sustainable development.
At first glance, the outlook for climate policy in 2017 does not look too promising: Donald Trump has become the president of the US and presented an energy plan that does not even mention climate change but is based on shale gas and coal. In addition, Europe’s often claimed leadership in climate policy is in jeopardy, with Brexit and the potential outcome of elections in the Netherlands and France, where populism and EU scepticism is on the rise.
However, on reflection, this year could be a good starting point for the achievement of new milestones in climate protection. Part and parcel of this less pessimistic outlook are the aims of the G20 and its German presidency. Under the leadership of Angela Merkel there is a good chance for a push towards carbon pricing. This would allow the world to pursue a growth path that protects the environment at the same time as lifting people out of poverty.