Climate Weekly: Europeans launch climate ambition drive – but Trump is unmoved

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Trump and Macron at a state dinner (Pic: Flickr/Official White House Photo/D. Myles Cullen)


The Paris Agreement faces a major test this year: will its first stocktake – aka the Talanoa Dialogue – result in countries agreeing to raise their ambition?

Seven EU member states launched a bid to tighten the bloc’s climate targets. The UK, anticipating Brexit, was not among them, and there are 20 more countries to convince, but it’s a start.

Meanwhile French president Emmanuel Macron was on a charm offensive to Washington DC, with a gift of a tree for Donald Trump. Officially a token of the two nations’ cooperation in world war one, the green symbolism was not lost on observers.

There was plenty of bonhomie on show, with Macron going in for a double cheek-kiss and Trump brushing fluff off his “perfect” French friend’s suit.

But it yielded no rapprochement on climate change. At a joint press conference, Macron could only say “we know where we stand” on the subject.

His hard sell was saved for Congress, where Democrats gave him a standing ovation for the declaration: “There is no planet B.”

Next it is Angela Merkel’s turn. The German chancellor, whose relations with Trump so far have been frosty, arrives on Friday primarily to avert an EU-US trade war. Will climate cooperation get a look-in?

China reshuffle

Shifting China’s climate policy to a newly expanded environment ministry will strengthen the fight against global warming, according to a senior official.

In his first public appearance since the reshuffle was announced, Li Gao said it would help to implement low carbon development goals.

On a central pillar of China’s strategy, the fledgling national carbon market, he admitted there was much work to do bringing environment officials up to speed.

Heading to Bonn

Two weeks of interim UN climate talks start in Bonn on Monday.

Thoriq Ibrahim, energy and environment minister for the Maldives, stressed that rich countries must deliver on their promises in the short term.

And a report by the Act Alliance questioned EU climate finance priorities, calling for more transparency of support for developing countries.

We will keep you updated throughout the talks with a daily newsletter.

Read more on: Climate politics