President Trump continues to get political mileage out of his move to exit the 2015 Paris climate accord. In a massive snub to the international climate movement, as well as to his German host, Trump won the war of words in the G20 leaders’ declaration issued Saturday from Hamburg:
“We take note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The United States of America announced it will immediately cease the implementation of its current nationally-determined contribution and affirms its strong commitment to an approach that lowers emissions while supporting economic growth and improving energy security needs.”
This is a huge blow to the ruling climate alliance that has tried to bully America into abiding by the Paris pact, which President Obama signed but the Senate never ratified. In the past month, since Trump’s Rose Garden announcement that the United States would pull out of the agreement, many world leaders have spoken out. Germany, France, and Italy issued a rare joint statement on June 1, claiming the Paris agreement was “irreversible” and “cannot be renegotiated since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies.”
French president Emmanuel Macron went a step further, telling “all scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, responsible citizens who were disappointed by the decision of the president of the United States, I want to say that they will find in France a second home.” Failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney even expressed his disappointment, tweeting that “affirmation of the #ParisAgreement is not only about the climate: It is also about America remaining the global leader.” (Just a gentle reminder of how the Romney wing of the party would have handled this differently.)
Tired of Winning Yet?
As if the acknowledgment on Paris wasn’t enough of a twist of the knife, the communiqué also states the United States will help other nations “access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently,” a concession that will surely outrage global climate peddlers and profiteers while shoring up Trump’s base at home.
Last month, during a White House press briefing, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the United States will embark on an era of “energy dominance,” and this seems to be part of that plan. It’s hard to overstate how much of a departure this is from the previous administration, as well as a total rejection of the global groupthink about the evils of fossil fuels.
During a post-summit press conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her disappointment with the outcome: “You are familiar with the American position, you know that unfortunately – and I deplore this – the United States of America left the climate agreement, or rather announced their intention of doing this, so what becomes clear in this declaration is the dissenting view of the United States. But I am very gratified to note that the other 19 member-states of G20 say that the Paris agreement is irreversible, that we feel committed to what we agreed on and that it is to be implemented as quickly as possible.”
Merkel became clearly agitated when reporters pushed her to explain why the United States got its way in the declaration (apparently the one sentence about the United States’s support of fossil fuels was in dispute until the very end): “It is absolutely clear this is not a common position but there is indeed a distinction. We worked on this until noon today and then it became clear that agreement was no longer there.” Merkel also said she did not think the United States would come back to the table on the Paris pact.
But You’ve Gotta Keep Funding Foreign Programs
The communiqué does include one veiled admonishment to the United States about the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Trump administration is now considering whether to remain in that 1992 treaty and fund it to the tune of nearly $7 million per year. The UNFCCC commits nations to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and “preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with Earth’s climate system.”
Fearing the loss of American funding and involvement in the framework, the G20 leaders “reiterate the importance of fulfilling the UNFCCC commitment by developed countries in providing means of implementation including financial resources to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation actions in line with Paris outcomes.”
Euro greens and U.S. political opponents will try to turn this into a loss for Trump, but it’s not. Standing up to the climate bullies who have dictated American policy and spending for the past decade, rebuffing international leaders who demand that the United States fall in line with prevailing environmental dogma, and promoting American energy will play well for the president.
Some detractors are calling it the G19 summit. If they think that makes Trump look bad, they still don’t get it.