The US was today isolated at the G20 Summit after India and 18 other members of the grouping termed the Paris climate deal as “irreversible” and threw their weight behind the landmark agreement from which Washington has decided to pull out. The two-day G20 Summit saw the Indian side making “significant contributions” on the resolve to counter terrorism and boost global trade and investment. The Summit, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with top world leaders including host German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump, however, came under the shadow of unprecedented violent protests in this German port city where thousands of anti-capitalism protesters clashed with police. Unfortunately, the US stand remains against the Paris pact but all other members have shown strong support on climate change, Merkel said. She said the communique clearly mentioned the US dissent and the position of all other members. “Obviously it could not be a fully common position,” Merkel told reporters. “All G20 members except the US agree that the Paris agreement is irreversible,” she said.
While taking “note” of the US’ decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the G20 communique said, “The Leaders of the other G20 members agree that the Paris Agreement is irreversible.” In the G20 communique, the leaders also said they remain committed to fighting corruption, including through international cooperation and technical assistance. “As an important tool in our fight against corruption, tax evasion, terrorist financing and money laundering, we will advance the effective implementation of the international standards on transparency and beneficial ownership of legal persons and legal arrangements, including the availability of information in the domestic and cross-border context,” the communique said. The leaders also called for completion of the IMF quota reforms and a new quota formula by 2019. They acknowledged that the malicious use of information and communications technologies can endanger financial stability.
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The leaders said that the digitalisation offered an opportunity for creating new jobs but there was a need to impart necessary skills for the future of work. They also called for the removal of market distorting subsidies and sought global cooperation to tackle excess capacity in industrial sectors. The leaders recognised the role of legitimate trade defence instruments and vowed to promote favourable environment for trade and investment. They also committed to keep markets open and focus on reciprocity, non-discrimination, fight protectionism and unfair trade practices.
The focus of the Summit, however, remained the issue of climate change as the US was isolated with the other 19 member states strongly backing the Paris accord. The G20 group asserted the importance of fulfilling the UNFCCC commitment by developed countries in providing means of implementation of the accord, including financial resources, to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation actions in line with the Paris outcomes. “We reaffirm our strong commitment to the Paris Agreement, moving swiftly towards its full implementation in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. “In the light of differentnational circumstances and, to this end, we agree to the G20 Hamburg Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth,” the communique said.
Trump in June announced that the US will withdraw from the Paris climate accord, saying the deal agreed by more than 190 nations unfairly benefited countries like India and China. Trump’s decision had drawn sharp criticism from international leaders, business groups and green activists.
The objective of the Paris Agreement is to prevent an increase in global average temperature and keep it well below 2°C. The Agreement was adopted on December 12, 2015, by 195 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), replacing its predecessor Kyoto Protocol. It was finally ratified on November 4, 2016. The grouping agreed to meet next in Argentina in 2018, followed by Japan in 2019 and in Saudi Arabia in 2020.