What does US isolation on climate change mean?

In case you missed it, the leaders of the world's 20 largest economies (the "G20") just finished meeting in Hamburg, Germany, issuing a joint statement on climate change.  Counter to earlier speculation, all but the United States (that is 19 to 1) reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement - that is "irreversible." In the end, leaders of indonesia and Saudi Arabia, for example, were persuaded that their interests lie with the other large economies, not with the US.  The draft G20 Hamburg Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth makes clear that not only do greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced radically, but there are tremendous economic benefits in pursuing and greatly expanding renewable energy worldwide.

This past spring when Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement (see posts on ClimateX), some speculated that the task of keeping within the 2C limit became impossible.  Many are now recognizing that the G20's (minus 1) firm resolve to press on with major changes has in part emerged from Trump's hardline position.  Further, some argue that having the US not party to implementing the Agreement will encourage clarity about what specifically needs doing, and putting together the means to do that.

What do you make of the US's isolation on climate change?  Will it slow down reaching needed climate goals?  Will fossil fuels have a renaissance?  Will states and cities in the US take up the slack created by federal inaction?

Let's hear from you!

2 Comments

Dave Damm-Luhr's picture

Already many of the 19 (of 20

Already many of the 19 (of 20) G20 countries are rushing to fill the void left by US President Trump's intent to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. For example, France recently announced a $68M program Make the Planet Great Again https://www.makeourplanetgreatagain.fr/home, soliciting researchers globally to take part. Applications - including some from the US - are streaming in hourly! Germany is expected to unveil something akin to France’s program soon. (See recent Nature article https://www.nature.com/news/climate-scientists-flock-to-france-s-call-1....). A reverse brain-drain??

Have you seen other consequence’s of Trump’s decision?

Curt Newton's picture

I really want to believe, in

I really want to believe, in the words of Vox's Ruairi Arrieta-Kenna, that "when all is said and done, pulling out from Paris, Trump’s mostly symbolic gesture to his base, will surely not be worth the undermining of America’s international standing." To say nothing of undermining the wellbeing of all species, justice for communities on the front lines of climate change impacts, and so on...

And also want to believe that US subnational actions will keep the pressure on, and amount to sustained and substantial results.

We need to stay vigilant about the ways Trump's Paris withdrawal is an intentional distraction from the systemic, less visible and destructive dismantling of the EPA, public lands protections, and federal support of science.