The US, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are undermining efforts to issue a common G20 communique to be issued on Saturday in Osaka, Japan, which would entail a common pledge to combat climate change.
Washington, Tehran and Riyadh are questioning global warming, while Europeans expressly want a reference to the 2015 Paris Agreement as an “irreversible” process.
There are very few issues in which there is policy consensus between Iran and Saudi Arabia, but the two countries echo US reservations on climate change science. The Financial Times reported on Wednesday that oil-rich countries, including the US, question the scientific foundations of a UN report that calls for policy objectives that more ambitious than those set at the 2015 Paris Agreement.
In fact, there is strong resistance to making any reference to the Paris Agreement. French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that France will not sign any text that does not mention the Paris agreement, Reuters reports.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday echoed President Macron, calling for more ambitious climate worldwide objectives. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that limiting global warming to 1.5C, as opposed to 2.0C envisioned in Paris, would be safer for global ecosystems.
On Wednesday, President Macron made clear that France will not sign a communique without a reference to climate change goals. According to a 2016 UN report, should all current policies remain in place, global temperatures could rise by as much as 3C by the end of the century.
The UK was the first country to adopt a target for net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050 and Paris is set to follow. Finland is committed to the sme objective by 2035. Meanwhile, Poland’s undersecretary of state for energy said on Thursday that Warsaw will no stand on the way of an EU net zero emissions 2050 target. “We will probably subscribe to this target, it’s just we need to know what the cost will be, and in what way we can mitigate the social impact of the whole transformation,” Tomasz Dąbrowski said:
Poland is among the most coal-dependent countries in Europe, with about 100,000 people employed in the sector, which fires up 80% of its electricity generators. It could cost Poland about €900bn to shift to a coal-free power system, Mr Dąbrowski projects.
While the G20 summit takes place in Osaka, President Donald Trump questioned Washington’s bilateral defense alliance with Tokyo, suggesting that the commitment was either mutual or sincere. “If Japan is attacked, we will fight World War III; we will go in and protect them with our lives and with our treasure,” Mr Trump said on Wednesday, adding “… but if we are attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us at all; they can watch on a Sony television.”