AN OVERWHELMING number of nations and international groups are throwing their support behind the 19 nation-members of the G20 following their latest summit at the backdrop of the United States’ (US) withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.
"All countries, save one, recognise that this is about protecting people’s health, safeguarding ecosystems, promoting economic prosperity and global stability," said the group Climate Action Network.
The group was calling out the decision of the US to pull out from the deal, which it publicized last June 1 to the outcry several nations who committed to the agreement.
The Paris agreement aims to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
The recently-concluded G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany has also produced a 13-page Climate and Energy Action Plan that outlines the nations' strategy to tackle climate change, a document first of its kind.
“The Action Plan on Climate and Energy for Growth attached to the Communique is the most detailed climate to-do list we have ever seen from the G20. Now it’s about taking concrete action within and between countries, building on existing efforts by business, cities and civil society and amplifying those through true governmental leadership,” Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF’s Global Climate & Energy Practice, said.
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said the document shows that nations are recognizing that actions must be rolled out soon to prevent the catastrophic consequences of climate change.
“The adoption of the Climate and Energy Action Plan is a clear indication that the world’s largest economies are well aware that action is urgently needed to make the zero carbon transition happen," said CAN Europe Director Wendel Trio.
The action plan further alienated the US from the other 19 nations as it noted that "[t]he United States is currently in the process of reviewing many of its policies related to climate change and continues to reserve its position on this document and its contents."
Oxfam International said the action plan leaves US President Donald Trump "stuck in the past."
“With the other 19 members firmly defending the Paris Agreement as ‘irreversible,’ President Trump’s stubborn insistence on propping up the fossil fuel industry leaves him isolated and stuck in the past,“ said Sasanka Thilakasiri, Senior Policy Advisor at Oxfam.
For the Philippines, one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to extreme weather, the support of G20 validates the presumption that majority of the nations are acting on climate change.
"The strong G20 statement in support of the Paris Agreement further isolated Trump and proved that an overwhelming majority of the international community is acting on climate change. Each country, including the Philippines, must do its fair share of climate action to survive and thrive in the face of rising seas and more extreme weather," said Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, a climate change and clean energy policy group based in the Philippines.
The 2017 G20 Hamburg summit was held on July 7-8 at Hamburg Messe, in the city of Hamburg, Germany. (SunStar Philippines)