Even before the G7 meeting – or G6 plus one – meeting in Canada, the signs are that it will be chaotic and deeply antagonistic, with spats over trade, tariffs and Russia, to say the least.
As all of these will take priority for the negotiators, Justin Trudeau’s attempts to use the summit to try and achieve some kind of climate change redemption after his $4.5 billion buyout of the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline, already looked doomed.
Trump of course has already started making headlines on tariffs on steel and aluminium and for calling for the re-introduction of Russia so the G7 can once again become the G8.
The call has already been rejected by Trump’s European allies, already smarting over being recently being hit by steel tariffs. “What worries me most is the fact that the rules-based international order is being challenged, quite surprisingly not by the usual suspects but by its main architect and guarantor, the US,” said President of the European Council Donald Donald Tusk at a press conference at the G7 summit.
But it is not just tariffs that Trump is at loggerheads with his partners with. Another issue is, of course, climate and if Trudeau had hoped the summit might make progress on it, all the signs are not good. As the Washington Post put it: “The summit will put Trump face to face with leaders he has antagonized on a range of issues, including the environment and the U.S. withdrawal last month from the international nuclear accord with Iran.”
Trump, the climate denier, is not even going to be at the session on “climate change and clean energy” or the health of the oceans, in part caused by climate change. He leaves the summit when it is barely into its second day.
The fact that Trump won’t even be at the session on climate makes Justin Trudeau’s job of trying to spin a positive message on climate even the harder. Trudeau faces the uncomfortable position of being the host for the G7 and trying to be an international climate hero, whilst at home he is a climate villain for saying his Government will buy Kinder Morgan’s $4.5 billion Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline.
As the Canadian Star notes: “At this weekend’s G7 summit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reputation as a leader on climate change is at stake.”
The paper adds “Many people are already saying he has already lost it. The purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline, and the increased oilsands production its expansion will enable, have significant consequences for Canada and the world in terms of carbon pollution. How that decision can be squared with Canada’s climate change targets, with the government’s signature pan-Canadian climate framework, or with its narrative of climate action remains unclear.”
What is clear is that 288 major investors worth more than $26 trillion in assets are warning that we aren’t on track to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and lack the tools needed to get there. What is also clear is that the G7 continues to subsidise the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $100 billion a year. What is also clear is that without Trump, little progress on subsidies is likely to be made.
And it would be totally hypocritical if Trudeau called on the intyernational commmunity to act on cliamte having just invested in a dirty energy pipeline. Earlier this week Trudeau said, on the appointment of a new Canadian government climate change ambassador, “Climate change is a global challenge that requires a global solution “Everywhere, we are seeing the effects of climate change reminding us of the need to act now”
These are hollow words considering Trudeau’s government recent buyout the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Expect more hot air from the G7 and Trudeau over the weekend.