11 July 2017

G20 Summit leaders reaffirm their commitment to climate change targets

Last Saturday, leaders from around the world agreed to continue to move forward on Paris Agreement climate targets despite the US pulling out of the Agreement.

World leaders were gathered in Hamburg, Germany, for the G20 summit meeting, and they signed off a policy blueprint – the G20 Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth – detailing how their countries would achieve their climate targets.

The climate and energy plan focuses on phasing out fossil fuels subsidies and shifting to “affordable, reliable, sustainable and low greenhouse gas emission energy systems as soon as feasible”.

The communique published at the end of the Summit reads: “We take note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement [...] The leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris agreement is irreversible [and] we reaffirm our strong commitment to the Paris agreement”.

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said about the US pulling out of the Agreement: “I think it’s very clear that we could not reach consensus, but the differences were not papered over, they were clearly stated. It’s absolutely clear it is not a common position.”

The US will officially withdraw from the Paris Agreement in November 2020, and will become one of the only countries of the world that are not in the agreement, with Nicaragua – which stated the Paris Agreement did not go far enough – and Syria – currently caught in civil war.

Andrew Steer, President of the World Resources Institute (WRI) said: “In the end, it was a landslide victory for countries voicing support for global climate action. Chancellor Merkel demonstrated deft leadership in rallying 19 of the world’s largest economies to deliver an unmistakable message behind climate action."

He also said: “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.”

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