Giuseppe Sandro Mela
Il mondo ha problemi ben più gravi ed importanti del ‘clima‘ e del ‘free trade‘ nei quali la Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel vorrebbe restringere le discussioni in senso al G20.
Questi problemi sono politici, economici e militari. Argomento questo ultimo di cui nessuno avrebbe piacere di parlare, ma che pesa come un macigno: è il convitato di pietra.
Frau Merkel si gioca in due giorni la sua reputazione, correndo il serio pericolo di ritrovarsi isolata nei fatti: sicuramente rinnovata in una cancelleria che nessuno stia più a sentire. Ha deciso di sfidare Mr Trump: ora faccia vedere le sue carte.
«Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to focus the G20 summit on her two pet issues of climate change and world trade. She’ll need to perform miracles to make it a success.»
«the G20 is more divided than at any point since meetings in the current format began nine years ago at the height of the financial crisis.»
«Mr. Trump sees Germany as an economic rival rather than a strategic partner»
«The German economics ministry is already drafting concrete plans to retaliate if the US imposes import tariffs on German products»
«Climate policy is even more difficult. There’s no sign yet of any compromise. Ms. Merkel has just reiterated her commitment to the Paris climate agreement as “irriversible and non-negotiable.” She can’t make meaningful concessions without being seen as caving»
«G20 governments are providing nearly 4 times more public finance to fossil fuels than to clean energy. With the United States indicating that it intends to pull out of the Paris Agreement, other governments must provide leadership in the clean energy transition: the remaining G20 governments will need to step up. Governments simply cannot be climate leaders while continuing to finance fossil fuels at current rates. …. public energy financing in G20 countries and at the major multilateral development banks (not including national-level subsidies or investments by majority government-owned banks and state-owned enterprises) adds up to $122.9 billion annually averaged from 2013 to 2015 – or roughly 7 percent of the total estimated $1.8 trillion in annual global investment in energy.» [Price of Oils]
«From 2013 to 2015, the G-20 nations spent $71.8 billion annually supporting fossil fuels, the study said, compared with $18.7 billion each year on direct support for clean energy such as solar, wind, geothermal or hydro power. Most of the fossil fuels money went to oil and gas exploration, but some also went to coal, which critics say is the dirtiest-burning fuel and the greatest driver of the greenhouse gas pollution that the Paris treaty was supposed to address»
«If other G-20 governments are serious about standing up to Trump’s climate denial and meeting their commitments under the Paris agreement, they need to stop propping up the outdated fossil fuel industry with public money»
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I dati di bilancio, ossia il denaro pubblico investito effettivamente, sono chiarissimi: l’Accordo di Parigi è una farsa. Una cosa sono le parole altisonanti ed una totalmente differente il denaro sborsato.
E Frau Merkel si presenta al G20 con un operato ben poco credibile: le sue azioni contraddicono vistosamente le sue parole. Difficile prestarle fede.
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Come se tutto questo non bastasse, ci sono i problemi della sicurezza e militari. Si potrebbe partire dalle differenti visioni in seno alla Nato, al fatto che gli Usa sono stanchi di essere gli unici a finanziarne i costi specie dell’armamento atomico, ma si dovrebbe proseguire con la guerra in Siria ed i precari equilibri mediorientali, per arrivare alla fine al nodo Nord Korea ed ai delicatissimi equilibri con Russia e Cina.
Questi argomenti fanno sicuramente aggio sui temi tanto a cuore di Frau Merkel, che non disponendo di forze armate in questo settore strategico conta come la polvere nelle strade.
L’Unione Europea è divisa: profondamente divisa.Queto è solo un piccolo, ultimo esempio.
«The countries where Mr. Trump has the most widespread support are Poland (73 percent see the US favorably) and Hungary (63 percent) …. Mr. Trump will undoubtedly try to deepen the EU’s internal divisions, by playing its eastern flank against its western members» [Handelsblatt]
Se tutti ci si augura che Frau Merkel riesca a mettere tutti di accordo, con altrettanta franchezza si dovrebbe concludere che questa sia una missione impossibile.
→ The Washington Times. 2017-07-06. Merkel to take charge of G-20 agenda, press multilateralism message to Trump
BERLIN — When President Trump arrives late Thursday for his inaugural gathering of leaders from the world’s 20 largest economies, he will be contending not only with Russian President Vladimir Putin in their fraught first face-to-face meeting, but also with host Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, an experienced leader who has clashed with Mr. Trump and hopes to keep the summit tightly focused on her favored agenda.
The biggest theatrics at the Friday-Saturday Group of 20 summit in Hamburg center on the highly anticipated meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin, as well as violent street protests planned by left-wing extremists and anarchists who have descended on the northern German port city in recent days.
But for most Germans, the most significant aspect of the G-20 is that Ms. Merkel, a staunch backer of “green energy” and multilateral free trade policies, is hosting the summit on her own turf — she was born in Hamburg — and could be the heaviest hitter at a gathering that includes the world’s most famous and nationalistic strongmen, including Mr. Trump, Mr. Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Her local allies note that Ms. Merkel is the only world leader to have attended every G-20 summit, which includes the leading industrial and developing nation economies, since the first was held in 2008.
“Angela Merkel knows that maybe she’s the most experienced head of government who will be at the G-20,” said Juergen Hardt, a member of the German chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union party and chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament.
“This is her chance to show that the multilateral way is the best way,” Mr. Hardt said in an interview Wednesday. “We need to enforce multilateral structures, but we have some leaders in the world who are not convinced yet that the multilateral approach is the better way to solve problems.”
In addition to the crises of the day, Mr. Trump is walking into unfriendly territory where his “America first” foreign and economic policy clash with cherished EU ideals.
Mr. Hardt pointed to seething EU frustration with Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate accord — the vast international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions — on grounds, according to Mr. Trump, that it unfairly stacked the deck against the U.S. and “doesn’t serve America’s interests.”
Ms. Merkel has suggested that she will use the G-20 as a high-profile stage to dramatize to Mr. Trump the fallout from his Paris decision.
“We cannot expect easy discussions on climate change at the G-20 summit,” she told German lawmakers last week.
More generally, Ms. Merkel has expressed distaste with Mr. Trump’s protectionist trade rhetoric, including sharp criticism of Germany’s bilateral trade surplus, and plans to rally world leaders behind the cause of free trade through large multinational agreements.
Anyone who “thinks that the problems of this world can be solved by protectionism and isolation lives under a huge misconception,” Ms. Merkel said without naming any names.
The message seemed tailored to win over Asian leaders who will be in attendance at the G-20, most notably Japan and South Korea, which are still reeling from Mr. Trump’s torpedoing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a massive trade agreement that the Obama administration spent years trying to reach between nations from Asia to North and South America.
In a deal whose timing will send a message, Japan and the European Union indicated that they are ready to announce a wide-ranging free trade agreement on Thursday as the G-20 summit opens.
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told reporters that she was “quite confident” that a broad agreement can be announced with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to lower tariffs on autos and agricultural goods.
“You can do good, fair, transparent and sustainable trade agreements where you win and I win, and not the American view, which seems to be, ‘You lose and I win,’” Ms. Malmstrom said.
If Mr. Trump is having second thoughts about trade, though, it was not evident from his Twitter account as he departed Washington on Wednesday night for a trip that includes a stop in Poland.
“The United States made some of the worst Trade Deals in world history,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Why should we continue these deals with countries that do not help us?”
The president’s bilateral meeting with Mr. Putin is likely to dominate news from the summit after months of saturated media coverage about Russian meddling in the presidential election and five ongoing investigations in Washington into suspected collusion between Trump campaign aides and Moscow — charges that Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin both vehemently deny.
But with Islamic State, Ukraine, Afghanistan and now the North Korean missile launch on the list of bilateral issues Russia and the U.S. have to discuss, it’s not clear how much time each crisis will receive. White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wouldn’t say Wednesday whether Mr. Trump even plans to raise the issue of election interference with Mr. Putin.
“We’re not going to get ahead of their meetings,” she told reporters traveling with the president.
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, who will attend the G-20 gathering, said in a statement Wednesday night that Syria — and the endgame after the impending defeat of Islamic State — will be one topic that Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin will definitely discuss.
“The United States and Russia certainly have unresolved differences on a number of issues, but we have the potential to appropriately coordinate in Syria in order to produce stability and serve our mutual security interests,” Mr. Tillerson said. “If our two countries work together to establish stability on the ground, it will lay a foundation for progress on the settlement of Syria’s political future.”
“The United States believes Russia, as a guarantor of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad] and an early entrant into the Syrian conflict, has a responsibility to ensure that the needs of the Syrian people are met and that no faction in Syria illegitimately retakes or occupies areas liberated from [Islamic State] or other terrorist groups’ control,” he added.
During the election campaign, Mr. Trump called for friendlier relations with Mr. Putin to join forces against the Islamic State terrorist group. But amid the probes, the White House is treading cautiously about expectations for the meeting and how Mr. Putin might portray it.
“Russia is a major power, and it can play a constructive or a not-constructive role on a whole host of international issues,” said Jeffrey Rathke, a foreign policy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “So there remains that desire for an improved relationship.”
But he added, “There clearly are risks when you’ve got a foreign policy process as disorganized as it appears to be in this administration.”
For Ms. Merkel, the real push will be to get the G-20 countries to agree that the best way to address the central challenges facing humankind today, whether it’s environmental change, terrorism, immigration or refugee flows, is through tightly woven multinational cooperation and agreements, Mr. Hardt said.
The extent to which she will be successful is up for debate. Germany will “no doubt do its best to refocus G-20 commitment on global cooperation,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, who heads the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a think tank of high-ranking Russian government officials and business leaders in Moscow.
“But [she] has no magic wand,” Mr. Lukyanov wrote in an analysis circulated this week by the U.S.-based Council on Foreign Relations.
“The global economy faces acute problems of a purely political nature, [and] it was feared in 2008 that protectionism would be the spontaneous reaction of several governments,” he wrote. “It is now the deliberate and official policy of the most powerful member of G-20, the United States. If the United States proclaims ‘America First,’ it is just [a] matter of time until the rest of the world will turn to more mercantilist thinking as well.”
The likelihood is also high for clashes between demonstrators and some 20,000 German police officers who have set up heavily guarded perimeters around Hamburg. With posters plastered around other German cities calling for protests in Hamburg, as many as 100,000 demonstrators are expected, although reports say the danger stems from about 8,000 left-wing extremists believed to be heading to the city.
While the protesters will speak out against a wide range of issues such as war, nuclear power, climate change, racism and big business, the motto for one of the approximately 30 demonstrations has been announced as “Welcome to hell.”
“It’s a combative message,” organizer Andreas Blechanschmidt told Agence France-Presse. “But it’s also meant to symbolize that G-20 policies worldwide are responsible for hellish conditions like hunger, war and the climate disaster.”
He described plans to try to block access to the venue where G-20 leaders will gather and said activists “reserve for themselves the option of militant resistance” against police.
→ The Washington Times. 2017-07-06. Despite Paris accord, G-20 countries invest four times as much in fossil fuels as green energy
The biggest critics of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord are also the world’s biggest hypocrites on energy policy, top environmental groups charged Wednesday in a report that found many top nations’ rhetoric on cutting emissions doesn’t line up with how and where they spend their money.
The study examined Group of 20 member countries and was released a day before Mr. Trump arrived in Germany for meetings with other members of the key international group, with energy and climate change expected to be at the top of the agenda.
The key finding: The G-20 nations spend roughly four times as much in public financing for fossil fuels as they do supporting renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. The report examines loans, grants, guarantees, insurance and other types of public finance offered either by the governments, government-owned financial institutions and credit agencies, and multilateral groups made up of G-20 countries.
From 2013 to 2015, the G-20 nations spent $71.8 billion annually supporting fossil fuels, the study said, compared with $18.7 billion each year on direct support for clean energy such as solar, wind, geothermal or hydro power. Most of the fossil fuels money went to oil and gas exploration, but some also went to coal, which critics say is the dirtiest-burning fuel and the greatest driver of the greenhouse gas pollution that the Paris treaty was supposed to address.
“Our research shows that the G-20 still hasn’t put its money where its mouth is when it comes to the clean energy transition. If other G-20 governments are serious about standing up to Trump’s climate denial and meeting their commitments under the Paris agreement, they need to stop propping up the outdated fossil fuel industry with public money,” said Alex Doukas, a senior campaigner at Oil Change International, one of the groups that authored the study.
The Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth and the World Wildlife Fund’s European office also were a part of the project.
On its surface, the report would seem to give credence to the argument that the Paris accord doesn’t ask much from other nations. Mr. Trump made that argument — along with putting America’s economy first — the centerpiece of his rationale for leaving the deal last month.
Indeed, environmentalists now say the same nations that have criticized Mr. Trump’s decision aren’t doing their part either.
In fact, the most outspoken opponents of Mr. Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. from the Paris deal — which included a pledge by President Obama to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025 — are some of the worst offenders.
Within hours of Mr. Trump’s announcement on June 1, the leaders of Germany, Italy and France issued a joint statement castigating the U.S. and saying the Paris pact is non-negotiable. They said the Trump administration should not try to revamp the deal in order to secure more favorable terms.
“We firmly believe that the Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated,” the three heads of state said in a joint statement, expressing “regret” with the course Mr. Trump chose.
Words and deeds
But two of those countries are hardly backing up their harsh words with action.
Germany supplied $3.5 billion annually in public finance for fossil fuels from 2013 to 2015, compared with $2.4 billion annually for clean energy, according to the study. Italy funneled $2.1 billion toward fossil fuels, compared with $123 million annually for clean energy.
Canada, another vocal critic, directed $3 billion annually in public finance for oil, gas and coal from 2013 to 2015 while putting $171 million annually toward clean energy.
China, the world’s top polluter, provided $13.5 billion annually for fossil fuel financing compared with less than $85 million annually for clean energy.
France directed more money toward renewable energy than fossil fuels, making it a notable exception to the broader trend.
France aside, green groups say the hypocrisy is striking.
“These countries have been talking out of both sides of their mouths,” said Nicole Ghio, a senior international campaign representative at the Sierra Club. “It’s unconscionable that any nation would continue to waste public funds on fossil fuels when clean energy sources like wind and solar are not only readily available, but are more cost-effective and healthier for families and communities across the globe. It is past time for G-20 nations to stop subsidizing fossil fuels once and for all.”
The Paris deal came into effect at the end of 2015, the final year examined as part of the deal. Since then, world leaders have, at least with words, recommitted their countries to developing and subsidizing clean energy.
The U.S. is in line with most of the world in terms of where it puts its money. It provided $6 billion annually for fossil fuels and $1.3 billion for renewable energy, according to the study.
On its surface, it appears the U.S. would have had to make the most drastic shift in energy financing in order to meet its Paris target. The American commitment of a 26 percent reduction by 2025 would have required massive increases in government financing of clean energy. China, on the other hand, committed only to start cutting its emissions by 2030, meaning it could in theory continue to prop up fossil fuels for the next 13 years.
Mr. Trump said that dynamic is unacceptable but that he is open to rejoining the accord so long as the terms don’t punish the U.S. economy.
“We’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” he said in a Rose Garden address last month. “And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”
→ Handelsblatt. 2017-07-06. Merkel’s Mission Impossible
Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to focus the G20 summit on her two pet issues of climate change and world trade. She’ll need to perform miracles to make it a success.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will need all her famed diplomatic skills this week to fulfil what many see as a mission impossible: preventing an open break of the G20, the closest thing the world has to a government, at this week’s summit of the world’s wealthiest nations.
As host, it will fall on her to try to patch up deep rifts in the world order. Wherever you look, there is dissent and conflict. US President Donald Trump is threatening Europe and China with import tariffs and has pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
China and America can’t agree on how to deal with North Korea’s mounting aggression and are at odds over China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Russia, internationally isolated since the Ukraine conflict, is hacking its way into Western elections and confounding the West with its military support for the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war.
And then there’s the never-ending dispute with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who fired yet another salvo at Berlin this week by declaring in an interview with Die Zeit newspaper that Germany was “committing suicide” by not allowing him to speak to Turks at a rally in Germany. “What kind of spirit is that? That is very ugly,” he said.
«“It’s alarming to me that almost all Trump’s comments on Germany are negative. Just as almost all his comments about the EU are negative.”» [Nicholas Burns, Foreign policy expert]
Ms. Merkel knows she won’t be able to cure the world of all its ills at the summit in Hamburg. That’s why she plans to focus the talks on two issues that are particularly important to her: safeguarding free trade and combating global warming. Progress on either issue would also bolster her campaign for a fourth term in the September election, although her party is so far ahead in opinion polls that she doesn’t need to worry too much on that score.
But there’s a real chance that the summit will end in failure. Mr. Trump, her main opponent in the talks, has so far steadfastly refused to budge on trade or climate change. And if he can’t be swayed, the mega-event costing hundreds of millions of euros with its 6,000 delegates, 100,000 protesters and 15,000 police could yield nothing more than a pointless, watered-down consensus. That’s why Ms. Merkel’s strategists are working flat out to save what can be saved.
On Friday evening, when Ms. Merkel hosts the leaders in the grand, newly opened dockside Elbphilhamonie concert hall-turned-fortress, their negotiators will start what could well turn into an all-night session of last-ditch talks.
While the leaders and their spouses savor the sublime acoustics of the futuristic hall as an orchestra plays Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” the functionaries will attempt to finalize the summit communique. It won’t be a joyful task because the G20 is more divided than at any point since meetings in the current format began nine years ago at the height of the financial crisis.
Officials have been talking since Tuesday in a Hamburg hotel. Mr. Trump and Ms. Merkel spoke on the phone on Monday when he assured her the summit would be a “success.” But she can’t bank on significant concessions from the “America First” president.
Mr. Trump sees Germany as an economic rival rather than a strategic partner, said foreign policy expert Nicholas Burns. “It’s alarming to me that almost all Trump’s comments on Germany are negative. Just as almost all his comments about the EU are negative. The entire way Trump deals with relations with Germany is destructive.”
But amid all the differences, there are some chinks of light. Contrary to recent speculation, there’s no sign of major disagreement on classic G20 issues such as financial market regulation or tax policy. The US continues to support the G20 stance, as the meeting of G20 finance ministers in Baden Baden in March showed.
At the G7 summit in Sicily in May, Mr. Trump agreed to include a pledge to fight trade protectionism in the final communique. But then, at a meeting of OECD ministers shortly afterwards, the US distanced itself from that promise again.
In Hamburg, Ms. Merkel wants to avoid falling back behind the G7 declaration, so even a repeat of the pledge given in Sicily would be seen as a success. But she won’t have been encouraged by a speech given by US Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross to a business conference of her conservative party in Berlin last week. Speaking via video link, he reiterated US criticism of Germany’s trade surplus and said the US wanted a bigger share of the European market.
The German economics ministry is already drafting concrete plans to retaliate if the US imposes import tariffs on German products. Possible measures could include tariffs on imports of American agricultural produce.
Climate policy is even more difficult. There’s no sign yet of any compromise. Ms. Merkel has just reiterated her commitment to the Paris climate agreement as “irriversible and non-negotiable.” She can’t make meaningful concessions without being seen as caving. On the other hand, she needs Mr. Trump’s agreement or the summit will fail. She can’t afford to isolate him, partly because he might respond by trying to sway Saudi Arabia and India whose support for the Paris accord is seen as shaky.
She’s looking for a face-saving compromise, a choice of words that the president can sign up to. So far, the circle hasn’t been squared. He regards jobs as more important than protecting the climate, while Ms. Merkel must defend the Paris accord.
Officials plan to get a draft communique ready by Thursday evening so that Ms. Merkel and Mr. Trump can discuss it. Then on Friday night, it will be returned to the negotiators.
But Mr. Trump isn’t the only risk. If the planned anti-G20 protests end in chaos and violence, images of a teargas-shrouded Hamburg will haunt her right up to the election.