WHY HAMBURG G20 SUMMIT IS GOING TO BE STORMY

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit extended.

Apart from the routine anti-capitalist protests that events like World Economic Forum, G20 and G7 Summits see, the G20 Summit at Hamburg is also going to be stormy because of two factors – North Korea and US President Donald Trump.

North Korea’s first ICBM test that was surprising successful, giving it the capacity to launch nuclear powered missile on the American mainland, has left the major world powers divided. A Russia-China joint statement was soft when it put the onus of North Korea’s missile launch on annual US-South Korea military drills in the region and deployment of the US anti-ballistic missile defence system THAAD in South Korea.

Trump who had said earlier he would not allow North Korea to have an ICBM, has reacted strongly saying US is drawing plans for its “pretty severe” response. The US, with South Korea, held military drill in response to North Korea’s ICBM and the US allies held an emergency UN Security Council meeting where US’ UN Ambassador Nikki Haley asserted that the US could use “considerable military forces” if situation demanded.

The G20 Summit leaders are meeting in Hamburg against this backdrop where Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, all primary stakeholders in the North Korean crisis, will see face to face each other and the issue will certainly dominate the talks.

The other big issue is climate change that is expected further eclipse the traditional G20 agenda, which is essentially financial and economic in nature and aims to bring social change through implementation of economic policies, i.e., achieving balanced economic growth for a resilient global financial system to take on issues like social empowerment, healthcare, corruption, employment, climate, infrastructure, along with the recent addition of combating terror financing and spread of digital technology.

The 43rd G7 Summit held in Italy on May 26-27 had seen fireworks when the group of the world’s most industrialize nations, i.e., US, UK, Germany, Canada, Japan, France and Italy, had become a virtual 6+1 with Donald Trump pitted against its other six members on his non-committal stand on climate change and the global Paris Climate Accord of 2015 that aims to cut down carbon emission levels to handle global warming.

The final G7 Communiqué after the Summit put the blame squarely on Trump with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying bluntly that Trump had already made up his mind to withdraw from the Paris Accord. And within a week, Trump, a harsh critic of the Paris Accord who used to term global warming a hoax during the campaign days, pulled the US out of global deal on June 1 for which he got global condemnation with countries rallying in favour of and reiterating their commitment to the Paris Accord.

The Presidency of G20, the group of the world’s 19 largest economies and the European Union, keeps on rotating and is currently with Germany which is hosting the 12th G20 Summit of the heads of states and governments in Hamburg. The G20 convention says the agenda of any G20 Summit is laid by the host country and discussions follow the theme accordingly.

And since Angela Merkel has made it clear that climate change discussions will be central to the Hamburg G20 Summit, it will be interesting to see how Trump and the American delegation manage the appearance of their isolationist instance here.

©SantoshChaubey

DONALD TRUMP SECOND US PRESIDENT TO WITHDRAW FROM A GLOBAL CLIMATE DEAL

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

As it was widely expected, US President Donald Trump has pulled the US out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, a global climate pact to deal with emission of greenhouse gases under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 195 countries signed the agreement document in December 2015 and 147 countries have ratified it so far and the agreement came into effect on November 4, 2016, days before the US presidential election on November 8, 2016.

US withdrawing from it is certainly a bad news as the country is the second largest emitter of the greenhouse gases. China, the European Union and the US account for more than half of the glbal greenhouse gas emissions, an analysis from the World Resources Institute says. And the US exit is bound to affect the norms and goals of the Paris accord even if other larger emitters including India, Russia, European Union and China has reiterated their commitment.

Trump has been a vocal critic of the Paris climate deal and he had promised to cancel the deal if he became the US President. Trump and his associates would refer to the Paris deal “a bad idea” that would be detrimental for the US economy and therefore for the US jobs. During the recently held G7 Summit in Sicily, Trump behaved on the issue like he was acting unilaterally. While six G7 members, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Japan and Canada reiterated their commitment for the 2015 Paris climate deal, Trump remained non-committal saying he needed more time to think over it.

During his recent visit to European countries and to the Vatican, European leaders and Pope Francis urged him stay with the climate pact. During the G7 Summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was blunt in her criticism over Trump’s stand saying the developments say the US will not stay with the climate deal. But his final decision says he had already made up his mind.

It is the second occasion when the United States has walked out of a global climate deal after endorsing it and on both occasions, it was a decision by a Democrat president that was overturned by his Republican successor.

In 2001, then US President George W Bush, a Republican, had withdrawn from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, that was accepted by his Democrat predecessor Bill Clinton. The agreement document was signed by former US vice-president Al Gore but could not be ratified by the US Senate. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was also aimed at reducing emission of greenhouse gases that are chiefly responsible for global warming. Like Trump says about the Paris Accord, Bush would say the same about the Kyoto Protocol that it “would have wrecked the US economy”.

This time also, it is a Republican president who has overturned a decision by his Democrat predecessor Barack Obama. The Republican controlled US Senate would never ratify the deal and therefore the agreement document signed by Barack Obama is considered an executive agreement as a traditional international treaty would require ratification by the US Senate, media reports in the US said. Under the Obama curated deal, the US had agreed to cut its 2005 emission levels by 26 to 28 per cent by 2025. Since the Paris Agreement was not ratified by the US Senate, its many provisions were not binding on the US. And since it is an “executive agreement”, Trump is well within his authority to withdraw from it.

©SantoshChaubey

DONALD TRUMP TO ANNOUNCE TONIGHT HIS DECISION ON PARIS CLIMATE DEAL

US President Donald Trump will announce today his decision on the Paris Climate Deal. He tweeted that he will make public his decision at 3 PM Thursday local time (12:30 AM Friday India time).

The whole world is embracing for a Donald Trump decision on the most ambitious climate control pact of our recent times. US withdrawing from it will be bad news as the country is the second largest emitter of the greenhouse gases and its exit is bound to affect the norms and goals of the accord even if other larger emitters including India, Russia, European Union and China has reiterated their commitment. During his recent visit to European countries and to the Vatican, European leaders and Pope Francis urged him stay with the climate pact.

But reports in the US media are almost unanimous that Trump will withdraw the US from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord even if he is facing backlash back at home. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is on the Business Advisory Council of the White House has said that he will quit the advisory board in case Trump withdraws from the Paris Climate Accord.

ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods has written a letter to Donald Trump requesting him to stay in the Paris Accord. Even Trump’s daughter Ivanka and his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have been trying to convince Trump to go for dilution of commitments instead of complete withdrawal, a CNN report said. Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democrat rival in the last year’s presidential election and former US Secretary of State, has said it would be “incredibly foolish” and “totally incomprehensible” to pull out of the agreement”.

A CNN report Wednesday said, based on its interaction with two senior US officials, that Trump is expected to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and a formal announcement can be made as early as this week.

Fox News wrote, quoting the Associated Press, that though Trump is expected to withdraw from the agreement, “but officials cautioned that there may be “caveats in the language,” leaving open the possibility that the decision is not final” while a Time report said that “Trump has told aides he intends to pull out of the agreement but has not decided exactly how to do it”.

Axios, a new media company, wrote on the development that “President Trump has made his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the decision.” The Axios report says that modalities of withdrawal are being worked out by a team led US Environment Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, who believes Paris Climate Agreement is a “bad business deal” and has called for an exit from it. The exit route can be “a full, formal withdrawal” that may take up to three years or the “exiting the United Nations Climate Change Treaty, a faster but more extreme process”, the Axios report further wrote.

Another report in Politico says that “President Donald Trump is planning to pull the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement, according to a White House official”. The Politico report states that it would be second such development when the US has rejected a global climate treaty after endorsing it. In 2001, then US President George W Bush, a Republican, had withdrawn from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, that was accepted by his Democrat predecessor Bill Clinton. This time also, it is a Republican president who is going to overturn a decision by his Democrat predecessor Barack Obama.

Trump has been a vocal critic of the Paris climate deal and he had promised to cancel the deal if he became the US President. During the recently held G7 Summit in Sicily, he behaved on the issue like he was acting unilaterally. While six G7 members, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Japan and Canada reiterated their commitment for the 2015 Paris climate deal, Trump remained non-committal saying he needed more time to think over it. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was blunt in her criticism over Trump’s stand saying the developments say the US will not stay with the climate deal.

©SantoshChaubey

DONALD TRUMP TO PULL US OUT OF PARIS CLIMATE DEAL?

Reports in the US media say US President Donald Trump has decided to pull the US out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement which came into force on November 4, 2016, news agency AFP has tweeted.

A CNN report Wednesday said, based on its interaction with two senior US officials, that Trump is expected to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and a formal announcement can be made as early as this week.

Axios, a new media company, wrote on the development that “President Trump has made his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the decision.” The Axios report says that modalities of withdrawal are being worked out by a team led US Environment Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, who believes Paris Climate Agreement is a “bad business deal” and has called for an exit from it. The exit route can be “a full, formal withdrawal” that may take up to three years or the “exiting the United Nations Climate Change Treaty, a faster but more extreme process”, the Axios report further wrote.

Another report in Politico says that “President Donald Trump is planning to pull the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement, according to a White House official”. The Politico report states that it would be second such development when the US has rejected a global climate treaty after endorsing it. In 2001, then US President George W Bush, a Republican, had withdrawn from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, that was accepted by his Democrat predecessor Bill Clinton. This time also, it is a Republican president who is going to overturn a decision by his Democrat predecessor Barack Obama.

Trump has been a vocal critic of the Paris climate deal and he had promised to cancel the deal if he became the US President. During the recently held G7 Summit in Sicily, he behaved on the issue like he was acting unilaterally. While six G7 members, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Japan and Canada reiterated their commitment for the 2015 Paris climate deal, Trump remained non-committal saying he needed more time to think over it. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was blunt in her criticism over Trump’s stand saying the developments say the US will not stay with the climate deal.

©SantoshChaubey

COP21 AGREEMENT: IT IS GOOD THAT IT IS FLAWED.

It is good that it is flawed.

That sums the essence of why the Paris climate accord is an achievement – after 23 years of bickering, dissents, disagreements, debates on terms like ‘carbon budget, climate justice, differentiation between developed and developing countries, carbon credit, transparency, accountability, historical emissions, emission targets’ and so on – the world has, at least, agreed to a common paper to map the further roadmap.

The world, with all its participating countries in such events, that include almost the whole planet – right from the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro – has, so far, consistently failed to reach at this elusive common draft that the 195 participating countries could reach at in Paris.

Why they had failed so far?

Because there were very few global polluters and the most were the silent victims.

Because the victim lot was rightly demanding to be compensated for the legacy of historical loss (historical emission) they had been burdened with.

Because the polluters were not ready for it in unequivocal, transparent terms.

Because, over the years, the polluters, too, in turn, had become victims of their continued exploitation of nature.

Because, developing clean technologies to keep fossil fuels away was too costly and a privilege of the rich nations.

Because, the developing block of the countries was putting forward the logic that why they should pay for the deeds of the rich, industrialized world at the cost of impeding their growth that was going to be heavily dependent on energy supplied by fossil fuels.

Even if both blocks were now equivalent in facing the wrath of nature – global warming, glaciers melting, rising sea levels, irregular rainfall patterns and floods, recurring drought spells and other unpredictable weather parameters and so on.

Because, if the low lying coastal areas and cities have to submerge (rising sea levels with increasing temperature due to global warming), it will be across the world and not just in America, Europe, China or other industrialized nations.

Because, if the world is increasingly facing erratic weather behaviour and freakish weather patterns and problems thereof, it is not just in India, but it is across the world – in Gulf countries, in America, in Europe, in Asia, in Africa and elsewhere.

The global agreement (Framework Convention on Climate Change – Adoption of the Paris Agreement) that the world reached at in Paris cannot be a perfect document because it has tried to take in concerns of as much groups as possible – and it is good for this reason.

An agreement that accommodates concerns of 195 nations or so, divided in multiple blocks, is bound to have some ‘flaws or imperfections’ for every block on the go – and the world leaders have accepted it while lauding the development. Here, everyone has something to question for, but everyone is attached to this ‘legally binding agreement’ by a common goal for a larger good that affects everyone.

The world community has honestly accepted it – after an honest effort this time with a ‘do or die’ proposition – after 23 years of the Earth Summit – giving us the first document that will be legally binding on every nation – and that is the best thing about COP21 or Paris Climate Summit.

We need to rush to save out habitations and our habitats and this ‘flawed agreement’ reached at in Paris may well be that elusive perfect beginning that we all need.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

COP21: IRRESPECTIVE OF CLIMATE DEBATES..

Yesterday, while inaugurating the India Pavilion at COP21, Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, said – ‘India is not responsible for climate change and the crisis due to it the world is facing’ – and he said it quite right.

The only thing is – saying so would not serve any purpose – because whatever be the reasons, whosoever be the culprits – the crisis cannot be restricted within borders – and is affecting the whole planet – and can cause irreparable damage to human habitations across the globe (including India) if something is not done seriously and urgently.

It is like the basic concept of building democratic nations and running civilized societies – build tomorrow based on what is there today and not on ‘what, why and how’ of past.

It is like the raging ‘tolerance Vs intolerance’ debate in India – a misplaced issue in an India that is poised to become a country of global stature with an elite presence in geopolitics and world affairs.

Who exploited whom, who grew at the cost of whom, who got this and who didn’t get that – a nation cannot grow if it keeps going back to such baggage from its past. India’s reality and India’s strength lie in India’s pluralistic society and diversified culture and if the country has to grow to become a true world power, it needs to keep that in mind.

The same concept applies to the issue of climate crisis the world is facing.

It doesn’t matter if most of it is due to the United States of America.

It doesn’t make any difference that the developed world and China have brought the whole planet on the verge of desperate ‘do or die’ measures to arrest global warming and climate change.

Because, if the low lying coastal areas and cities have to submerge (rising sea levels with increasing temperature due to global warming), it will be across the world and not just in America, Europe, China or other industrialized nations.

Because, if the world is increasingly facing erratic weather behaviour and freakish weather patterns and problems thereof, it is not just in India, but it is across the world – in Gulf countries, in America, in Europe, in Asia, in Africa and elsewhere.

Irrespective of the answerability of the so-called culprits of climate deterioration or irrespective of the debates around terms like ‘climate injustice’, the whole humanity faces imminent danger of changing weather patterns.

Irrespective of which countries brought the planet to this juncture of global warming, glaciers melting, rising sea levels, irregular rainfall patterns and floods, recurring drought spells and other unpredictable weather parameters, every country of the day is going to face nature’s wrath or is facing nature’s fury.

And we are running short of time to address the problem.

Let’s see if anything tangible comes out of COP21.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/