Leftist Coalition Pushing ‘Climate Action’ at G20 to Endorse Paris Accord

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

A small coalition of politicians, officials, and activists in the United States and abroad aim to make climate change a priority at the upcoming G20 summit beginning Friday in Hamburg, Germany.

The coalition is demanding G20 nations endorse the Paris climate change agreement.

Jerry Brown, governor of California, is a member of the coalition, which only lists four other representatives on the website of Climate Group, the activist organization that spearheaded the campaign.

“All over the world, momentum is building to deal seriously with climate change,” Brown said in a press release that accompanied a statement from the coalition. “Despite rejection in Washington, California is all in.”

“We are fully committed to the Under2 Coalition and the Paris Agreement,” Brown said.

The Under2 Coalition calls itself a “global pact of states, regions, cities, and countries committed to limiting global warming.”

In June, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement signed onto in 2016 by former President Barack Obama as an “executive agreement.” The U.S. Senate did not ratify the accord, which is required to validate international agreements.

Trump said at the time that the deal would hurt U.S. workers and the economy.

“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord,” Trump said.

Trump said that the administration would consider “negotiations to reenter either the Paris Accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers.”

Climate change believers like those in the Under2 Coalition see the interests of a global community as paramount.

Carles Puigdemont, president of the Catalonia region of Spain said:

Climate change has an impact on our collective well-being.The effects of global warming are all intricately interconnected and affect different parts of society and different areas of the country in different ways.

We need to prevent the appearance of new forms of inequality and poverty that may result from changes, for example, in access to water, in ecosystems, infrastructures, health, migration, and so on. At the same time, we need to guarantee the continued functioning of our economy under new climatic and environmental conditions.

“The Paris Agreement is crucial as it aims at keeping a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius,” Winfried Kretschmann, minister-president of the German state of Baden-Württemberg said. “This is the boundary between a kind of climate change that we can adapt to and a kind of climate change that would change the conditions on our planet fundamentally.”

“Tackling climate change creates great opportunities for those of us taking early action,” Jay Weatherill, premier of South Australia said in the press release. “More and more states and regions, like South Australia, are taking strong action to simultaneously tackle climate change, attract investment and create jobs.”

“World leaders have a responsibility to put the world, and the global economy, on track for a low carbon future,” Weatherill said.

Helen Clarkson, chief executive of The Climate Group, said:

We know that we are at a critical moment to turn the tide on climate change.With U.S. states and cities committing to Paris irrespective of the federal government’s position, the international community needs to find a way of recognizing this commitment from sub-national governments in order drive the pace of change needed.

The group issued a statement ahead of the summit, calling for “international cooperation on climate change,” that said, in part:

We urge the G20 to reaffirm its support for implementation of the Paris Agreement and further action on climate change. The Paris Agreement includes nearly every country in the world and it is essential that international backing for it continues.  At a time when action on climate change must be strengthened, we believe it is critical not to compromise on this commitment, even if it requires a statement from less than the full G20.

We also call upon the G20 to recognize the role of sub-national governments, states, regions, cities, in leading and delivering on climate action.

According to the United Nations, the organization that heads the Paris accord, 152 countries of the 197 who were parties to the agreement have ratified it.


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