At the G20 summit in Hamburg, President Trump did not quite reach the exemplary level that is usually expected of a United States president when it comes to climate change policy.
“America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will” Barack Obama said, while addressing West Point graduates in 2014. Indeed, it is paramount for the advancement of the world that the U.S leads by example, as it is the most powerful and influential country in the world. However, last weekend we witnessed how the second part of Obama’s statement has been confuted. At the G20 summit in Hamburg, President Trump did not quite reach the
At the G20 summit in Hamburg, President Trump did not quite reach the exemplary level that is usually expected of a United States president when it comes to climate change policy. As a result, presidents of other countries took a leading and unifying role when trying to deal with this vital issue.
In the past one would expect presidents of countries such as China to have opposing viewpoints in climate change, compared to the rest of the G20 leaders. This year, things were different. According to the French presidency, Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed during a bilateral meeting with France’s President Emmanuel Macron their common backing for the Paris climate agreement and desire to work on joint renewable energy projects. The summit was not obstructed by China, Turkey or Russia, but by the United States, a country that should have been an example to follow and not a source of conflict.
Specifically, at the G20 summit, Trump was active in tackling important global challenges, such as ISIS and North Korea, but he was completely isolated on climate policy by essentially being against all the rest of the 19 leaders. The summit ended with leaders agreeing to disagree with Trump. The other 19 nations, except the United States, renewed their pledge to implement the Paris agreement, while Trump followed a different path, rejecting the concept of collective action against global warming.
For better or worse, we live in a globalized society; hence the most powerful countries must go hand in hand with the most vital topics such as climate policy. As the German Chancellor Angela Merkel said one week before the summit in an address to parliament “Anyone who thinks the world’s problems can be solved with isolationism and protectionism is simply delusional.” It becomes even more absurd when such ideas come from the United States, which is the mother of globalization, so one would expect that it would strive to find solutions that will consolidate the twenty most powerful countries and favor a universal plan of action.
I really hope that in the future America will be the example to follow on climate policy and not the obstacle towards global progress. Without America unifying the world and leading the way, the most powerful countries will never be able to advance in crucial matters. America’s positive contribution is fundamental.