Tuesday, June 13, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: G20 Summit - Merkel’s Anti-Trump Front Is Crumbling

1) G20 Summit: Merkel’s Anti-Trump Front Is Crumbling
Spiegel Online, 10 June 2017

2) Isolating Trump: Merkel’s G-20 Climate Alliance Is Crumbling
Spiegel Online, 9 June 2017

3) Tories Form Government With Climate-Sceptic DUP
edie News, 9 June 2017

4) UK Election: 'Nothing Has Changed'

5) And Finally: The Book Of Jeremy Corbyn
The New Yorker, 9 June 2017

1) G20 Summit: Merkel’s Anti-Trump Front Is Crumbling
Spiegel Online, 10 June 2017

In the run-up to the G20 summit, the German Government is trying to isolate US President Trump. According to SPIEGEL, Angela Merkel is lobbying for a commitment to the Paris climate agreement from as many statesmen as possible. But it’s not that easy.

First cracks in the climate alliance emerged early – just after Donald Trumps’ historical speech in the Rose Garden where he announced America’s withdrawal from the Paris climate deal. Only Germany, Italy and France signed a joint, critical statement in response to the farewell from the international climate alliance. Japan, Canada and the UK did not.

Undaunted, German chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to rescue the alliance against Trump. At the beginning of July, at the G20 summit in Hamburg, the leaders of the most important industrialized and emerging nations, such as China and India, will meet. Angela Merkel wants to take a manifest stand in the fight against global warming. According to SPIEGEL, her officials have drafted a 13 page document intended to be signed by as many heads of state as possible.

According to the draft statement,  G20 leaders would have to committed to a “redesign of the global energy system in line with Paris” and to their pledges of “national contributions” for the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Social Democrats put Merkel under pressure

According to SPIEGEL, the draft document contains a number of points in which the Paris agreement is expressly reaffirmed and specified. “Our actions are guided by the Paris agreement,” it says. The goal was “to keep global warming well below two degrees [Celsius]”.

However, the German government fears that not all 19 heads of state and government – not including Trump — will sign this declaration at the summit in Hamburg. According to SPIEGEL, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in a telephone call with Angela Merkel, has proposed that any reference to the Paris climate agreement should be removed from the G20 statement to allow US President Trump to sign it.

Merkel’s Social Democratic coalition partner (SPD) has warned the Chancellor not to concede and not to remove the clear commitment to the Paris Agreement. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told SPIEGEL: “It would of course be good if as many participants of the G-20 summit as possible were to reconfirm their adherence to the Paris climate deal. Silent consent in opposition to the climate deal cannot be the message sent by the G-20.”

Merkel is currently consulting by phone with G20 leaders to establish how great their willingness is to isolate Trump on the climate issue. During her Latin America trip this weekend, she will also discuss the subject with the Mexican President.

Translation GWPF

Full story (in German)

2) Isolating Trump: Merkel’s G-20 Climate Alliance Is Crumbling
Spiegel Online, 9 June 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had actually thought that Canada’s young, charismatic prime minister, Justin Trudeau, could be counted among her reliable partners. Particularly when it came to climate policy. Just two weeks ago, at the G-7 summit in Sicily, he had thrown his support behind Germany. When Merkel took a confrontational approach to U.S. President Donald Trump, Trudeau was at her side.

But by Tuesday evening, things had changed. At 8 p.m., Merkel called Trudeau to talk about how to proceed following Trump’s announced withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. To her surprise, the Canadian prime minister was no longer on the attack. He had switched to appeasement instead.

What would be wrong with simply striking all mentions of the Paris Agreement from the planned G-20 statement on climate, Trudeau asked. He suggested simply limiting the statement to energy issues, something that Trump would likely support as well. Trudeau had apparently changed his approach to Trump and seemed concerned about further provoking his powerful neighbor to the south.

The telephone call made it clear to Merkel that her strategy for the G-20 summit in early July might fail. The chancellor had intended to clearly isolate the United States. at the Hamburg meeting, hoping that 19 G-20 countries would underline their commitment to the Paris Agreement and make Trump a bogeyman of world history. A score of 19:1.

If even Trudeau is having doubts, though, then unity among those 19 is looking increasingly unlikely. Since then, the new formula has been to bring as many countries as possible together against one.

The first cracks began appearing on the Thursday before last. After returning from the G-7 summit in the Sicilian town of Taormina, Merkel had sent a clear signal to her team: “We have to stay together, we have to close ranks.”

From the G-6 to the G-3

But even before Trump announced the American withdrawal from the Paris Agreement that evening in the White House Rose Garden, it had become clear in Berlin that they would miss their first target. Led by the Italian G-7 presidency, the plan had been for a joint reaction to Trump’s withdrawal, an affirmation from the remaining six leading industrial nations: We remain loyal to Paris.

Suddenly, though, Britain and Japan no longer wanted to be part of it. British Prime Minister Theresa May didn’t want to damage relations with Trump, since she would need him in the event of a hard Brexit, the Chancellery surmised last week.

And given the tensions with North Korea, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe couldn’t put his country’s alliance with the U.S. at risk. In other words: Climate policy is great, but when it comes to national interests, it is secondary.
In the end, the Germans, French and Italians were on their own. The G-6 had become the G-3.

It is a defeat for Merkel, and not just when it comes to climate policy. It is also a setback for her claim to leadership on the global stage. Germany’s geopolitical influence, the incident shows, remains limited. When it comes to power, security and interests, Germany is a not a global player, but a mid-sized power that isn’t even able to keep Europe together.

The German chancellor may have become the hero of liberals and democrats around the globe, but she is unable to fulfill the expectations placed on her as the putative “leader of the free world,” at least not when it comes to power politics. Even Merkel’s psychological deftness in dealing with the posturing potentates of the world isn’t enough to make up for the fact that Germany is not a global power when it comes to foreign and security policy.

America, it seems, will remain the world’s power broker for the time being.

Unpredictable Variables

When the most powerful heads of state and government gather in Hamburg in less than a month, that fact could make things difficult for the event’s German hosts, and not just when it comes to climate policy. The international situation hasn’t been this unclear in a very long time and it is impossible to predict how the meeting participants will act and how the summit will unfold. There are “so many fault lines,” says a source in the Chancellery: The battle for free trade and protectionism, the war in Syria, the Qatar crisis and the ongoing fighting in Ukraine all pose a threat to summit bonhomie.

In internal discussions, a list of unpredictable variables has been drawn up. At the very top is Donald Trump.

Indeed, the U.S. president’s first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin threatens to overshadow the entire summit. Merkel had hoped that the two would organize a meeting prior to the Hamburg summit so that their encounter would not become a central issue. But now, all eyes are likely to be on the face-to-face meeting between the leaders of America and Russia, particularly given that the investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Moscow is gaining steam in Washington.

In Berlin, preparations for the summit are continuing full speed ahead, with the Chancellery focusing primarily on the preparation of two documents. One is the summit’s official closing communiqué, which all 20 heads of state and government are to sign. The document is to reflect Merkel’s stamp on the summit, and it focuses on a broad array of issues from trade to Africa to women’s rights.

Several drafts have circulated among the G-20 members in recent weeks. Of particular note: There isn’t a single mention of the climate in the document.
There is a decent possibility that, if the U.S. is to sign it, the closing document will remain completely silent on climate issues.

Hope Fades

In parallel, though, Merkel’s advisers are working on an “Action Plan on Climate, Energy and Growth,” a document that had initially been planned for the 19 in Merkel’s original 19:1 calculation. But hope is fading that enough heads of state and government can be found to sign the document. Thirteen pages long, the paper asks signatories to commit themselves to “the restructuring of energy systems consistent with Paris” and to their “nationally determined contributions” to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

For the Americans, the document is an imposition. It includes a number of items in which the Paris Agreement is expressly affirmed and substantiated – the pact that Trump has just withdrawn from. “Our actions are guided by the Paris Agreement,” the document states, the goal of which is that of “holding global temperature increases to well below 2 degrees.” The paper also discusses the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and the $50 billion (sic) that industrialized nations have pledged to make available to help developing nations reach their targets. An array of items that, as has recently become apparent, Trump has little use for.

Officials in Brussels are cautiously optimistic. "We expect that the document will be signed by the 19 countries," says one diplomat involved in G-20 preparations. Nobody at EU headquarters, though, has any hope that the U.S. will join them.

In Berlin, the mood is less confident. There are widespread concerns that a whole list of countries might pull back out of fear of the consequences for their relations with Trump - something they aren't willing to risk over the question as to how hot it might be on the planet in 100 years. Indeed, the Chancellery has begun recalibrating its view of success, now content to settle for a situation in which no other country joins the U.S. in withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.

German officials believe there are several countries whose signatures to the document are by no means certain. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for instance, could be on the search for revenge following the dispute over German parliamentarians' rights to visit German troops stationed in Incirlik. The Saudis, meanwhile, might jump ship because of the multibillion-dollar defense deal they just signed with Trump.

Full post

3) Uncertain Times For Green Industry As Tories Form 'Government Of Certainty' With Climate-Sceptic DUP
edie News, 9 June 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will form a Government with the support of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in a move that environmental groups are fearing could have damaging consequences for Britain's green economy.

May visited Buckingham Palace at 12.30pm today (9 June), seeking the Queen’s permission to remain in office after a hung parliament was confirmed earlier this morning. The Tories are currently eight seats short of an overall majority with just one constituency left to declare. As such, the Prime Minister has been forced to sign an informal agreement with the DUP on a vote-by-vote basis.

Speaking outside Number 10 following the shock result, May promised that her Government would “provide certainty”, and insisted that she would begin Brexit negotiations on 19 June, as originally planned. The Prime Minister claimed that the Conservatives and DUP have together “enjoyed a strong relationship over many years”.

“What the country needs now, more than ever, is certainty,” May said. “Having secured the largest number of votes and greatest number of seats in the general election, it is clear the Conservatives and Unionist Party has the legitimacy to provide that.”

May has rejected calls to resign from both senior Conservative and Labour representatives, who have branded her decision to call this snap General Election as a “gamble that backfired”.

The good and the bad

So, what does all of this mean when looked at through the lens of corporate sustainability? Many people working within the green business sphere will be pleased that the likelihood of a ‘soft Brexit’ has increased now that the DUP, having secured 10 seats, has given its support to the minority Tory Government - the Unionists are keen to ensure Northern Ireland’s border with the Irish Republic remains as "seamless and frictionless" as possible.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party’s gain of 30 seats has placed Jeremy Corbyn's party in a much stronger position to hold the Conservatives to account over key energy and environment regulation and potentially prevent a 'hard' Brexit situation.

But that's where the potential good news ends. It is feared that the DUP’s newfound influence on UK politics could in fact have a negative impact on green policy, with the party having previously appointed a climate change denier as Northern Ireland Environment Minister, and last year becoming embroiled in controversy around a failed Renewable Heating Incentive Scheme (RHI) which cost Northern Irish taxpayers more than £400m.

Full story

4) UK Election: 'Nothing Has Changed'

5) And Finally: The Book Of Jeremy Corbyn
The New Yorker, 9 June 2017

By Anthony Lane

And there came from the land of Britain a prophet, whose name was Jeremy. And he cried aloud in the wilderness, and said, Behold, I bring you hope.

And it came to pass, in the land of Britain, that the High Priestess went unto the people and said, Behold, I bring ye tidings of great joy. For on the eighth day of the sixth month there shall be a general election.

And the people said, Not another one.

And they waxed wroth against the High Priestess and said, Didst thou not sware, even unto seven times, that thou wouldst not call a snap election?

And the High Priestess said, I know, I know. But Brexit is come upon us, and I must go into battle against the tribes of France, Germany, and sundry other holiday destinations. And I must put on the armor of a strong majority in the people’s house. Therefore go ye out and vote.

And there came from the temple pollsters, who said, Surely this woman will flourish. For her enemy is as grass; she cutteth him down. He is as straw in the wind, and he will blow away. And the trumpet of her triumph shall sound in all the land.

And the High Priestess said, Piece of cake.

And there came from the same country a prophet, whose name was Jeremy. His beard was as the pelt of beasts, and his raiments were not of the finest. And he cried aloud in the wilderness and said, Behold, I bring you hope.

And suddenly there was with him a host of young people. And he said unto them, Ye shall study and grow wise in all things, and I shall not ask ye for gold. And the sick shall be made well, and they also will heal freely. And he promised unto them all manner of goodly things.

And the young people said unto him, How shall these things be rendered, seeing that thou hast no money in thy purse?

And he spake unto them in a voice of sounding brass and said, Soak the rich. And again, Pull down the mighty from their seats.

And the young people went absolutely nuts.

And they hearkened unto the word of Jeremy, and believed. For they said unto themselves, Lo, he bringeth unto us the desire of our hearts. He cometh by bicycle, with a helmet upon his head. And he eateth neither flesh nor fowl, according to the Scriptures. For man cannot live by bread alone, but hummus is quite another matter.

And the High Priestess saw all these things and was sore. And she gathered unto her the chief scribes and the Pharisees and said unto them, What the hell is going on?

Full book


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