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.
Climate change mitigation within a faltering world order – setbacks avoided, breakthroughs postponed
The German Government had set itself challenging goals for the G20 Summit, developing an ambitious agenda for shaping an interdependent world. The fundamentals of this agenda had already been established when everyone was still expecting Hillary Clinton to succeed Barack Obama as President. But the new White House incumbent is a climate and cooperation sceptic. A man who sets himself up back home against the media, the scientific community and the judiciary, that is, against the entities that keep his power in check. And a man who is divisive on the international stage, favouring protectionism where it serves US interests, withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and a reduction in contributions to the United Nations. A fickle world power that causes offence rather than working with partners to shape global policy. This is no coincidence.
This statement is supported by renowned scholars from rising powers of the South as well as Germany. The common position demonstrates our unwavering commitment to the Paris Accord and expresses our determination to deepen joint knowledge creation on existential issues for human survival and sustainable development, for global justice and social integration.
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.