Climate Won’t Be on Next Year’s G-7 Summit Agenda, White House Declares
Climate change won’t be on the official agenda when the United States takes its turn next June to chair the annual G-7 meeting, though there’s already speculation that representatives of the world’s biggest economies won’t be willing to skip the topic.
“Climate change will not be on the agenda,” Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told media last week, without elaborating on the comment.
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“It means that irony is definitely NOT on the agenda!” tweeted climate scientist Gabriel Filippelli, who advised the U.S. State Department during the administration of President Barack Obama.
“The White House’s stance is likely to be widely criticized, possibly even by members of the president’s own party,” The Guardian reports. “Florida is on the front line of the climate crisis, facing ever stronger hurricanes and rising sea levels. While the state’s elected leaders had long denied climate science, they have recently started to change their tune,” with Sen. Marco Rubio acknowledging in August that “climate change is a real problem” and recently-elected Gov. Ron DeSantis hiring the state’s first chief resilience officer.
Even with the Trump White House hosting the G-7 and controlling the agenda, former Bill Clinton climate advisor Paul Bledsoe said the former reality TV star won’t be able to prevent other countries from discussing the crisis anyway. “The other nations will no doubt bring up climate change in both an economic and security context,” he told The Guardian. “The issue is going to come up frequently because it is increasingly a matter of public safety, national security, and the economic costs of impacts.”
Not that there would have been an policy breakthroughs with Trump at the table, even if climate showed up as its own agenda item, Bledsoe added. But “it’s deeply ironic that the U.S. state most vulnerable immediately to climate change impacts will host a meeting at which global leaders will be forced by the U.S. to largely ignore the topic.”
“Sidelining climate change during a gathering of world leaders in the city that is arguably ground zero for climate change in the U.S. is just the latest example of the Trump administration’s blatant denial of the gravity of the climate crisis,” agreed Union of Concerned Scientists Senior Climate Scientist Kristy Dahl, in a blog post last Friday. “It also represents a profound ignorance of the worsening climate impacts Florida is already facing, and a missed opportunity to underscore the need for world leaders to urgently address climate change at the global scale.”
Dahl adds that a real U.S. leader “would be telling the world that Floridians are already coping with the changes in climate that have come along with 1.0°C of warming over the past century. That warming shows up in Miami Beach in the form of spending hundreds of millions of dollars to relieve the city’s residents of having to wade through ankle-deep water downtown during high tides rendered higher by sea level rise. It shows up in the form of climate gentrification in Miami, as those who can afford to do so move away from flood-prone areas to higher ground inland, making properties there increasingly unaffordable for residents with lower incomes.”
Already, residents of more modest-income neighbourhoods like Opa-Locka, Hiahlea, and Shorecrest struggle with streets that “regularly flood during storms, and even just high tides as water comes up through stormwater drains,” Dahl notes. By mid-century, without action to reduce emissions, she says Miami-Dade County is on track for 88 days per year with a heat index above 105°F/40.5°C.
The White House also endured two days of intense, bipartisan criticism after Mulvaney announced the summit would take place at the National Doral Miami, a Trump golf resort in Florida that is reported to be losing money since its owner began dabbling in politics. Trump eventually backed down in a Saturday Twitter storm, attributing his decision to “Irrational Hostility” from Democrats and U.S. media, then complaining that he’d “announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA. But, as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!”
“Trump’s decision to hold the G-7 summit at his Doral resort is brazenly corrupt, illicit graft,” countered Slate staff writer and U.S. Supreme Court chronicler Mark Joseph Stern, while the discussion was still in process. “It’s an impeachable offence on its own, and the House would be shirking its constitutional duty if it does not add it to the articles of impeachment.”“The reaction from everybody who’s not a Republican in Washington is sort of shock and outrage. This is unprecedented in American history,” added Washington Post investigative writer David Fahrenthold in a Friday podcast. “We’ve never had a president who awarded a giant government contract to himself. I mean, there’s just been nothing like this.”