America First trumps G20

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche

18 March 2017


Two messages coming out of the G20 meeting in Baden Baden over the weekend highlight how the world has changed with the election of Donald Trump as President of the US. This year the leadership of the G20 international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies sits with Germany which has publicly stated that it wants to see the group agree a global price for carbon. Germany believes that without an agreed price, the world will continue to consume coal which will become cheaper in comparison to renewable energy sources. However, it looks as if Germany and others will be disappointed because the communique from the meeting not only does not put a price on carbon but omits any reference to climate change altogether. Last week President Trump’s first budget contained provision for drastically reducing funding for climate related work across several US government department and agencies The new US President’s America First policy under which companies are expected to produce goods in the US or face large import duties has also unravelled another thread that the G20 has been particularly forceful on promoting. The final communique also dropped an anti-protectionist commitment after opposition from the US. In 2016, the group vowed to "resist all forms of protectionism" this year the statement said only that countries "are working to strengthen the contribution of trade" to their economies.