The G-7 annual summit is scheduled this June 7th-8th to be held at Schloss Elmau in Upper Bavaria.
“The Chancellor would like to use the G7 summit to push ahead with two UN projects: firstly, a worldwide climate agreement and secondly an agenda for sustainable development,” Angela Merkel at the Dialogue Forum, The Federal Chancellor, April 29, 2015.
Fortunately, President Obama is representing the United States. Imagine how the sparks would fly if one of the current Republican presidential candidates attended, not that Obama has been great shakes on the climate issue. In fact, early on he missed a golden opportunity to charge ahead. Instead, he’s furthered fossil fuel development at a huge opportunity costs to do something spectacular with renewable energy, on the order of JFK’s moon shot. Alas, he embraces fossil fuels.
Welcome to the world of unrestrained, ungoverned, ubiquitous fracking!
Nevertheless, thankfully there will be some semblance of civility at the G7 as Obama does posture favorably for renewables. Which is in sharp contrast to the Republicans, who shriek, run away, throwing their hands up into the air like wild banshees at the first mention of climate change, other than admitting it “always changes.”
Hypothetically, if one of the Republican hopefuls was at the G7, what would he/she do, or say, or maybe reproach the high-powered Chancellor? There is no way an American president under Republican leadership could sit through such a meeting without protest, maybe taking off a shoe, pounding it on the table à la Nikita Khrushchev, the UN Shoe-Banging Incident of Oct. 12th, 1960. What a horrible dilemma. And, how would Chancellor Merkel react to one of the G-7 leaders behaving in such a belittling manner?
Accordingly, a sober assessment of potential conflict at a G-7 meeting between one of the world’s most powerful leaders and an assumptive Republican president is relevant to evaluation/understanding of America’s policies, sans the current Democrat president, hmm, assuming it is clear enough to understand.
“These days, it takes careful parsing to pinpoint what Republican candidates believe about climate change,” Alex Roarty, Republicans Are Talking Differently About Climate Change, National Journal, June 18, 2014.
“In many instances, Republicans avoided talking about the issue at all (sometimes going to great lengths to avoid doing so). It’s not that Republicans have always outright rejected climate-change science; before the tea-party wave of 2010, the GOP had largely embraced not only the science but some measure of policymaking to combat it,” Ibid.
And, it’s not just the tea-party influence, per se. It’s really big bucks that call the shots, especially regarding climate change issues. Nowadays, marching orders come from deep pocket plutocrats to whom hopeful presidential candidates must pay homage to, well, umm, what’s the best way to put this… collect bags full of money!
As such, here’s the verbiage required to pass GO and collect hundreds of millions to win the Republican Party nomination:
“Yesterday, Florida senator Marco Rubio… offered some vigorous climate denialism that should please the Republican primary electorate: ‘Our climate is always changing,’ he said, noting that human activity has nothing to do with it and that any efforts to do something about it ‘will destroy our economy’.” Paul Waldman, Where the 2016 GOP Contenders Stand on Climate Change, The Washington Post, May 12, 2014.
By all appearances, Germany is at odds with all of the Republican contenders for the presidency, except one, maybe. According to Paul Waldman, “Only one of the potential contenders (Chris Christie) seems willing to say that human activity is a significant cause of climate change.” But wait, the governor is starting to hem and haw.
Meanwhile, here’s more from The Federal Chancellor web site: “Scientists also see the acidification and warming of the oceans as an urgent problem, caused by climate change.”
That’s another un-Republican reference “caused by climate change,” but, unlike Senator Rubio, the Chancellor does not address the issue of destroying economies. After all, she is conducting a G7 for world leaders. One would think she’s earned her political legs by now and knows not to suggest a lame idea that destroys economies.
Indeed, that would be an unusual German maneuver since the country is at the forefront of worldwide economic ingenuity.
In that regard, here’s how Germany sees the issue of fixing climate change:
“Renewables were the biggest contributor to Germany’s electricity supply last year, according to data that underline the dramatic shift towards clean energy in Europe’s largest economy,” Jeevan Vasagar in Berlin, Renewables Take Top Spot in Germany Power Supply Stakes, The Financial Times, Jan. 7, 2015.
“Under an ambitious energy transition policy, known as the Energiewende, Europe’s biggest economy aims to generate up to 60% of electricity from renewables by 2015.”
According to Rainer Baake, German state secretary in the federal ministry of economy and energy: “Today we can generate electricity from new wind and large photovoltaic facilities at the same overall cost as newly built hard-coal or gas-fired power plants… Another added benefit is that new jobs that are created in the power industry. Over just a few years, Germany created about 370,000 jobs in the field… The transition to renewable energy must not only develop into a success story for the environment, but also in economic terms. This is true for Germany and for other countries that have embraced renewables,” Rainer Baake, The Path Towards Economic Growth is Powered by Renewables, The Nation/Business, Jan. 18, 2015.
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Saturday for the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), the bloc’s flagship policy to cut greenhouse gas emissions, to become a global system,” Michelle Martin in Berlin, Germany’s Merkel Calls for Global Emissions Trading System, Reuters, May 16, 2015.
According to the Chancellor in her weekly video podcast: “”This instrument would of course be particularly effective if we could introduce it beyond Europe because then we’d have the same general framework around the world.”
Unequivocally, Germany is dead serious about the climate change issue, and the Chancellor is not at all bashful about grandstanding her policies. All of which really, seriously begs the consideration of whether “American No-Policy” may be the laughing stock of foreign capitals. Even Communist China openly discusses policies to combat climate change/global warming.
And, not only that, how can an issue that could lead to extinction be an issue?
Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org