The German Presidency of the Group of Twenty (G20) in 2017 takes place under conditions of uncertainty with regards to the outlook for both the global economy and international policy cooperation. Almost a decade after the Group was launched in its current iteration, G20 economies continue to struggle with the factors that led to the Great Recession of 2007 and losses that resulted from shortcomings in domestic and international governance are still to be recovered.
At the recent G7 energy ministerial in Rome, the Trump administration’s listlessness on climate change prevented attendees from being able to sign off on an endorsement of the Paris climate deal. With the G7 leaders summit in Taormina now only one month away, and the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg only two months after that, it seems Donald Trump is yet to be won over by those in his cabinet who believe it would be a mistake for an American President to attend both summits as the first world leader to cut and run from the Paris Agreement.
Food security in poor rural areas: the twofold challenge of raising agricultural productivity and adapting to climate change
On April 27 2017, representatives from some of the world’s most powerful economies will convene at the G20 international conference on rural development in Berlin. Ahead of this event, we argue that without concerted efforts to help small-scale farmers raise productivity and adapt to climate change the G20 will not come close to attaining its goal of securing global food systems as envisaged in the 2017 G20 Agriculture Ministers’ Declaration.
On Tuesday 28 March, President Trump unravelled his predecessor’s climate policy by signing an executive order that, amongst other things, undoes restrictions on emissions by coal-fired power plants. Obama’s climate measures would have resulted in an estimated 26-28 percent reduction of US emissions by 2025. Many now ask about the global consequences of US withdrawal from climate protection; will this be the end of the world’s quest for a low-carbon and climate resilient future?
As the G20 Working Groups on Sustainability, Energy and Climate are preparing to meet later this week, it is well worth reminding ourselves of the importance of the upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg for global energy governance. It is the first G20 summit since President Trump was elected on a pro-fossil fuels, climate-skeptic, and protectionist/nationalist agenda. It is also the first G20 summit since the Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016, a legally binding agreement to keep global warming ‘well below 2°C’, ratified by all G20 members except Russia and Turkey.