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.
Much of the criticism levelled at the Group of 20 (G20), the club of the world’s most economically powerful industrialised and emerging economies, is justified. The Hamburg summit will play host to high-level autocrats and, in many ways, its agenda is far removed from the needs and standards of a just, inclusive and sustainable global economy. Policy advisors still hoping for the gathering to deliver in some way are banking on an initiative supported by the EU countries and their civil societies in cooperation with several partners from the global South, an initiative designed to promote sustainability solidarity and participation.
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.
Bringing together more than 400 foreign and security policy elites from the transatlantic community and an irritatingly small number of representatives from the non-Western world, the Munich Security Conference somewhat resembled a couple’s therapy session and an attempt at self-reassurance. Does the West still exist? Do we still need the West? What is the West about? And, finally, a huge question, which world order is it worth fighting for?
Donald Trump will become President of the USA on 20 January 2017. Even if he only implements part of what he has announced, a political earthquake will be unleashed. This will radically change the conditions the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement. Efforts to organize global cooperation need to be massively expanded: the EU needs to strengthen its international profile, and it needs a 100-day programme outlining its priorities. The German G20 Presidency can help to strengthen climate protection and the 2030 Agenda. These are the foundations upon which the transatlantic partnership as well as dialogue between societies must move forward.