Political uncertainty in U.S. bodes ill for German chancellor’s climate club initiative – opinion
The concept of an international climate club of nations which agree to cooperate on higher climate policy standards could lose drive before it is even launched due to the increasingly volatile political climate in the USA, Moritz Koch writes in an opinion piece for Handelsblatt. The climate club idea, which was pushed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the recent G7 summit in Bavaria, clashes with the U.S. supreme court’s ruling on curbing federal influence on the states’ emissions reduction policies. “The consequences are devastating, also for the EU,” Koch writes. The unity demonstrated at the G7 summit could vanish quickly, as the U.S. gears up for its midterm elections this year and the beginning of presidential campaigns in 2023. “Diplomats in Brussels tremble when they start thinking of the America that emerges from the coming presidential elections,” which could bring a return of far-right and anti-climate action ex-president Donald Trump, while incumbent president Joe Biden has so far failed to consolidate U.S. climate policy, the article says. “America moves backwards as Europe marches on. This can’t go well,” Koch writes, arguing that the climate club is therefore destined to fail. The planned introduction of a carbon border adjustment tax could end up becoming a source of conflict with the U.S., rather than a foundation for cooperation, Koch writes.
G7 leaders agreed during their summit in the Bavarian Alps to establish a so-called climate club by the end of 2022. The club would “support the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement by accelerating climate action and increasing ambition, with a particular focus on the industry sector, thereby addressing risks of carbon leakage for emission intensive goods, while complying with international rules”.