At the G20 summit held last month in Hamburg, Germany, countries agreed to the official communiqué, and all of the leaders except President Trump signed onto the Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth, demonstrating their commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change. The G20 communiqué also affirmed that curbing carbon pollution can be accomplished while supporting economic growth and bolstering energy security.
Following is a statement by Andrew Steer, President & CEO, World Resources Institute (WRI): “In the end, it was a landslide victory for countries voicing support for global climate action. Chancellor Merkel (Germany) demonstrated deft leadership in rallying nineteen of the world’s largest economies to deliver an unmistakable message behind climate action. These leaders understand that shifting to a low-carbon future can drive long-term economic growth, including over $23 trillion in investment opportunities in emerging economies alone.
“President Trump continued to isolate himself by not signing onto the Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth, showing just how out of touch the administration is on this issue. A growing body of research from WRI and the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate has shown that smart climate policy promotes more efficiency, job creation, new technology, and a better quality of life, which runs counter to President Trump’s views.
“Time and again, world leaders have affirmed that the Paris Agreement lays the foundation for a safer and prosperous pathway. In agreeing to the G20 communiqué and Action Plan, these nineteen leaders signaled their unmistakable commitment to that brighter future. While the U.S. pushed hard to weaken the communiqué, the Germans, Europeans, and many others stood firm to keep the text tied to reality. The U.S. did manage to work in a reference to the use of fossil fuels, which flies in the face of the urgency of tackling climate change, but no other countries embraced this language.
“Examples of the momentum behind a low-carbon future abound. India has successfully added 5.5 gigawatts of new wind capacity in 2017, exceeding its four gigawatts annual target. China also recently doubled down on its commitment to renewable energy in announcing a three-hundred-sixty-billion-dollar investment in clean energy by 2020 that will support thirteen million jobs. Countries like France and Norway are preparing for a world without gas-powered vehicles. Businesses and investors are stepping up support for rapid implementation of the Paris Agreement and recognizing the risks of inaction.
“The direction of travel toward clean energy is loud and clear. The question remains how quickly the world will surge forward and how far behind the Trump administration will let the United States fall.”
— Rhys is Senior Communications Manager, Climate Program at the World Resources Institute, and calls Jefferson County home.