From the BBC:
Leaders of 19 nations at the G20 summit in Germany have renewed their pledge to implement the Paris deal on climate change, despite the US pulling out.
Deadlock over the issue had held up the last day of talks in Hamburg but a final agreement was eventually reached.
It acknowledges President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement without undermining the commitment of other countries.
In her closing news conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she still deplored Mr Trump’s position on the Paris accord but she was “gratified” the other 19 nations opposed its renegotiation.
And French President Emmanuel Macron also remained hopeful of persuading Mr Trump to change his mind, saying: “I never despair of convincing him because I think it’s my duty.”
One of the biggest mistakes people make when dealing with Trump is thinking it is all about him. This is understandable given Trump thinks everything is about him and so did his predecessor. But even Trump would probably acknowledge that on this issue, and several others, he is simply representing the interests of the people who elected him. That is his job after all, but Merkel, Macron, and the rest don’t seem to understand this: they talk of changing Trump’s mind as if he’s decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement just for the fun of it, instead of it being something he was specifically elected to do. I genuinely doubt they realise that the commitments they’re demanding must first be approved by the senate. The way Macron has kicked off his presidential career, he probably thinks everyone at the G20 can do anything they like, as if they’re medieval kings.
Of course, this is the problem with politicians today, they think they’re leaders of the people rather than mere representatives (a distinction which the Samizdata commenters weighed in on recently). I don’t recall anyone specifically asking the British or French electorates whether they wanted to sign up to this crap, the ruling elites simply agreed among each other that it would happen, and took silence from the masses as consent. Of course, this was only possible because the costs of the agreement are hidden and fall mainly on the United States anyway: as the world’s biggest producer of goods and services, an effective tax on economic activity will hit them the hardest. It’s easy to bully citizens into signing up to something if you hide or lie about the costs, just look at the Olympics. And it’s easier to get people to take a hit if somebody else is getting fucked over twice as hard.
With the USA being the elephant in the room without whose cooperation the whole exercise is pointless, politicians should have spent time and effort finding a solution Americans could accept. Instead, as with the Kyoto Protocol a generation earlier, they didn’t bother and now talk of America being isolated. This is the equivalent of Spanish football clubs forming a league without Real Madrid and Barcelona and claiming the two giants clubs are isolated. Or it’s like world cricket trying to pass reforms without the Indians on board, the folly of which took the blazered idiots in English cricket a long time to learn.
Of course, I think this was quite deliberate. These agreements are set up precisely so the USA will reject them, giving everyone else an excuse to drag their feet or explain why none of these expensive policies has made any difference. And if they do sign up, the Americans hobble their economy and hand over piles of cash. It’s a win-win except for Americans, which is why they keep rejecting it. Little wonder Trump cleared off early and got his daughter to take over.