Of Course Trump Is Skipping the Climate Part of the G7

Illustration for article titled Of Course Trump Is Skipping the Climate Part of the G7
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The Group of Seven (G7) summit in Canada is going to be winnowed down the Group of Six because Donald Trump’s fee-fees are hurt. According to CNN, the White House announced Thursday the president will be packing up his toys and leaving the gathering of world leaders before its conclusion on Saturday, cutting out on sessions on climate and oceans.


The exodus comes after an escalating war of tariffs and tweets in the weeks leading up to the summit. But that may not be the sole reason Trump wants to leave Quebec early. Aside from instilling terror in immigrant mothers, the Trump administration’s greatest accomplishment has been dismantling climate and environmental protections. The biggest international move the president has made so far was announcing his plan to pull out of the Paris Agreement just over a year ago.

While the U.S. is still technically in the agreement until 2020, it’s not like the administration has any shown any interest in cooperating on it. Its only contribution to international climate talks last year was a session espousing the benefits of clean coal, which activists crashed and then walked out on en masse. At home, the number of attempted climate rule rollbacks and policies that slow climate mitigation is getting too long to list.

The administration has also proven no fan of ocean protection, advocating drilling the high seas anywhere there’s oil to be potentially found. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also recommended shrinking or reducing protections for three marine national monuments.

The administration’s actions stand in stark contrast to the questions the G7 is looking to answer about climate change and oceans this year, one of this year’s key themes. Here they are:

1. How can the G7 accelerate the transition to low carbon, climate resilient economies? What issues, areas, or initiatives should the G7 prioritize?

2. How can the G7 create a cleaner environment for future generations, while also creating jobs and growth that benefits everyone?

3. What are the most important issues facing our oceans and coastal communities today? How should the G7 work together to address these issues, including as it relates to expanding conservation, eliminating pollution, and promoting the sustainable use of maritime resources?

4. How can the G7 advance gender equality and women’s empowerment through its actions related to climate change, oceans and clean growth?

If I was Trump (shudder), I frankly wouldn’t want to stick around either. In leaving early when climate comes up, he follows a new tradition started by Scott Pruitt last year during the G7 ministerial last year.

That said, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out host nation Canada isn’t exactly a climate luminary. The country just nationalized construction of the embattled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that will triple the capacity of tar sands crude the current pipeline delivers from Alberta to British Columbia. In addition to contributing to the climate crisis, indigenous groups, environmental activists, and the governor of Washington worry that the increase in tanker traffic caused by the pipeline will increase the risk of oil spills in the Burrard Inlet and Puget Sound.


One can hope Trump’s absence will reduce distractions, allowing Canada and the other countries present to take a hard look at themselves, too.

Managing editor at Earther, writing about climate change, environmental justice, and, occasionally, my cat.


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Trump (and really all the republicans) really only cares about exports. Climate change is something others will have to worry about. The tax cut highly depends on US exporting more stuff and importing less stuff. If that doesn’t happen the deficit balloons and the debt of $20 trillion explodes.

Speaking of hazardous materials shipping, let’s focus on oil and gas of the fossil fuel family. This is why anything relating to curbing greenhouse gas emissions is off the table. This is roughly (kinda) how much GDP is added by US exports of oil and gas stuffs alone.

Crude oil. Exports rate is at 2 million barrels per day. Assume a market price of $65/barrel. That’s $130 million per day or $47 billion per year. Four years ago that export was almost non existent.

Oil Products (from propane to asphalt). Export rate for all products on a barrel basis is around 6 million barrels per day. Assume an average value added market of all products at 50% over crude oil price of $65. So the average market price for the basket of oil products is $97/barrel. That’s $582 million per day. Over the year, that would be $212 billion. That increase is about 10 fold since the 2008 economic collapse.

Natural Gas (LNG shipments and pipeline to Mex/Can). We export (and re-export) about 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year. The export market price is about $3.5/thousand cubic feet. So natural gas exports bring in about $12.5 billion per year. Exports of natural gas is starting to go nuts with LNG shipping and new pipelines to Mexico.

We’re a petrostate now, kids. Bad timing.