At G20 Trump Is Again the Only Hold Out on Climate Change

Published on December 1, 2018 by Athena Pallas

The leaders of the G20 nations just met in Argentina, and 19 of those leaders, all except President Trump, renewed their commitment to battling against climate change. President Trump continues to deny that human activities, especially including the use of fossil fuels, are contributing to climate change, despite the overwhelming consensus of scientists, despite his own government’s recently released report, and despite nearly all nations in the world except the United States being signatories to the Paris Climate Agreement.

All 20 leaders at the G20, including Trump this time, also signed an agreement on trade calling for changes within the World Trade Organization, but, and this is particularly noteworthy, the agreement’s intended comments on protectionism were excluded because the United States, i.e. Trump, rejected having discussions related to that issue, so even in this area Trump was acting as outlier. According to The Hill:

Leaders of the Group of 20 (G-20) nations on Saturday signed off on a final statement pledging to fix the world trading system, with all but President Trump also expressing support for the Paris climate agreement. The statement finalized after the two-day summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, calls for reforming the World Trade Organization but does not mention protectionism because the U.S. resisted those discussions, according to The Associated Press. The statement also says that 19 leaders reaffirmed their commitment to fighting climate change through the Paris agreement, with Trump being the sole hold out…Trump has long bashed the 2015 Paris accord, which was negotiated under the Obama administration, and announced the United States’ exit from the agreement last year. He has also pushed back on the findings of a report released by his administration last week outlining the potentially devastating consequences of climate change.

This afternoon is when the leaders at the G20 signed off on the agreement about trade, and in the statement 19 of the 20 also reiterated their commitments to abide the Paris climate accord, with Trump reiterating his decision, on the contrary, to withdraw from the agreement, making the U.S. the only country to withdraw from the agreement to which 195 countries are signatories. According to The Associated Press:

Leaders of the Group of 20 have agreed to fix the world trading system — but only 19 of them agreed to support the Paris accord on fighting climate change. Applause rose up in the hall Saturday as the leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, signed off on a final statement at the end of a two-day summit. The statement acknowledges flaws in the world trading system and calls for reforming the World Trade Organization. It doesn’t mention protectionism however, because negotiators said the U.S. had resisted that. The statement says 19 of the members reiterated their commitment to the Paris climate accord but the U.S. reiterates its decision to withdraw.

President Trump has continued to show a willful ignorance regarding matters of science, including on the subject of climate change, where Trump appears to stick with what he wants to be true instead of looking at actual evidence, the findings of experts, the scientific consensus, and the policy positions of all of our major allies. This position Trump takes on climate change bespeaks a larger problem, namely that it is difficult, often impossible, to reason with Trump, to have him use facts in order to make his decisions, to get him to base his own claims on evidence rather than conspiracy theories and what he wants to be true. A leader who cannot be reasoned with is a problem for all of us.

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Featured image of President Trump at the G20 summit with President Mauricio Macri of the Argentine Republic at the Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires, Argentina.