G20 leaders concluded their meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina over the weekend with a decision on climate change that acknowledged the recent IPCC report on 1.5°C pathways, recognized the Paris Agreement as “irreversible”, and committed to its full implementation, effectively isolating Donald Trump in his determination to withdraw his country from the global deal.
In a statement that took four of the 31 paragraphs in the full G20 communiqué, the countries also acknowledged the importance of climate change adaptation and stated that they “look forward to successful outcomes of the UNFCCC COP24, and to engage in the Talanoa Dialogue.”
The G20 leaders’ declaration was a major advance from what was expected just days earlier, when Climate Home News reported on a draft conclusion that ignored the IPCC report and declined to give full support to the Paris deal.
“The text contrasts starkly with a communiqué agreed by the foreign ministers of the EU and Central Asia on Friday, which expressed ‘deep concern’ over the IPCC findings and a desire to see countries make progress in Katowice and beyond,” CHN stated in the lead-up to the G20 session.
“It also contrasts with the last G20 leaders statement, in which all countries but the U.S. agreed that the Paris Agreement was ‘irreversible’. The U.S. stood apart, forcing a paragraph to be inserted that noted their wish to withdraw from the deal.”
In this year’s statement, the U.S. reiterates that decision and “affirms its strong commitment to economic growth and energy access and security, utilizing all energy sources and technologies, while protecting the environment.”
Another paragraph in the declaration recognizes “the crucial role of energy in helping shape our shared future” and encourages “energy transitions that combine growth with decreasing greenhouse gas emissions towards cleaner, more flexible and transparent systems, and cooperation in energy efficiency.” It also recognizes “opportunities for innovation, growth, and job creation through increased investment into cleaner and sustainable energy sources,” with language that cites “varied sources of energy and technological advances” that drive in that direction.
Thomson Reuters points to that phrasing as another attempt to smooth over differences between the G19 and the Trump administration’s “commitment to using all kinds of energy sources.”
“We continue to promote universal energy access by eradicating energy poverty, cooperating to provide displaced people and disaster-impacted and remote areas with access to it, and through enhanced implementation of G20 regional plans,” the declaration adds.