Last week’s G20 summit revealed that when it comes to action on climate change, the United States under the Trump Administration is isolated from the rest of the world.
While the G20 final communiqué said that other leaders “take note” of the U.S. decision not to implement the Paris climate agreement, the other 19 leaders stated the “the Paris Agreement is irreversible.” The United States found no allies on climate, even from countries which are major oil producers like Russia and Saudi Arabia, while other conservative leaders like Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull, the UK’s Theresa May, and Germany’s Angela Merkel stood strongly by the Paris Agreement.
In the absence of the United States, the other G20 leaders issued a strongly worded “Hamburg Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth.” Commentators noted that the U.S. decision to leave Paris “minimized pressure to address U.S. concerns, allowing the other countries to draft a more robust statement.”
So the lesson from the first major international summit following the US government decision to withdraw from Paris is clear: other countries, even major oil producers or other free market conservative governments, will not follow their lead. The Paris Agreement is here to stay, and countries need to focus on the best way to implement their commitments.
Canadians for Clean Prosperity continues to believe that carbon pricing, in particular a revenue neutral carbon tax that refunds carbon revenues to consumers and business, is the best, least cost way for Canada to meet its Paris climate targets.
Meanwhile, the free market continues to take measures that will lead to lower global demand for fossil fuels. Last week, Volvo announced that all of its vehicles will be fully electric or hybrids after 2019. Bloomberg New Energy Finance is predicting that electric vehicles will be as cheap as gasoline vehicles by 2025, and will overtake them in sales within 20 years.
Donald Trump cannot stop global progress on climate change or slow the clean energy transition. So the best response to the Trump Administration’s actions on climate change is not for Canada to slow down to meet their lagging pace, but to keep up with the rest of the world which threatens to pass the United States by on the path to a lower carbon economy.