How Trump’s climate U-turn exposed the limits of European power

(EurActiv, 25 Jul 2019) America’s decision to pull out from the Paris Agreement has put European diplomats in an awkward position, EURACTIV’s media partner Climate Home News reports.

Who does Xi Jinping call when he wants to speak to Europe?

It’s a question that has dogged climate diplomacy since 2017, when Donald Trump vowed to take the US out of the Paris Agreement, removing the strongest external impetus for China to cut its carbon emissions.

It also put European diplomats in an awkward position. Suddenly, the third-largest polluter and second-largest economy on earth was expected to step into the void. Yet no-one involved in the decades-long fight for international action on climate change seemed to think that would happen.

At a recent G20 meeting in Japan, the reasons were on display. President Emmanuel Macron of France and China’s Xi reaffirmed their commitments to ramp up climate action. But their statement bore no implications for the EU, which determines France’s contribution to the Paris deal.

Macron has pushed the bloc to raise its targets but has been unable to gain the support needed from within. Xi commands the biggest emitting economy in the world. In climate terms, this was not a meeting of equals.

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EurActiv, 25 Jul 2019: How Trump’s climate U-turn exposed the limits of European power