Contributed by Jim Hayes
In Australia, the final communique from the G7 meeting in Canada went almost unnoticed. The reason is that the Turnbull government decided to ignore it, because it is thoroughly secured to the coattails of the United States, which did not support the agreement.
Australia comes out, yet again, looking like the faithful puppy at its master’s feet.
The G7, which in addition to the United States includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Japan, agreed on the contents of the communique, which includes a reaffirmation of an intention to implement the Paris Agreement, and set a table for upcoming negotiations at the United Nations in Poland.
This will follow an environment ministers meeting in September, which will consider the progress that has been made by the G7 countries, on their commitments to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
The communique contains other issues besides the global warming threat. The other critical one is global trade.
This has led to a war of words between the United States and the other countries, with Donald Trump launching a tirade against his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau. Although he had first signed the document, despite his declared oppositon to the prat relating to global warming, he subsequently withdrew his support, over what he claimed are comments made by Trudeau in a media interview.
The words at issue are “Canadians are polite and reasonable but we will also not be pushed around.” He was referring not to the agreement on climate change, but the other major issue in the communique, global trade.
Trudeau was responding to the threat of a United States imposed 25 percent tariff on steel from the start of July.
German leader Angela Merkel called Trumps’ action of the communique “sobering” and “depressing.” French President Emmanuel Macron said international co-operation could not be “dictated by fits of anger and throwaway remarks.”
Back in Australia, Malcolm Turnbull said nothing about Donald Trump’s machinations.
Globall trade is important. Even more so than usual, in circumstances where global tensions threaten a drift towards trade war. International trade should be carried out through equal and peaceful relationships between countries and should not be regarded as a means to gain advantage over another and carve out spheres of influence. But this is the road the United States has embarked on more than anyone else.
Global trade should also provide a means to foster new sustainable national and global economies. At present, we are a long way from achieving this. Although climate warming and trade were the joint highlights in the communique, there has been no move to bring the two together so far.
In his own way, Donald Trump has no qualms about linking both issues. He has sought American advantage in trade and blocking advance on global warming action with one move.
Meanwhile back in Australia, the mostly American owned fossil fuel industry continues to carry on business as usual, contribute lavishly to the political coffers of Turnbull government and receive subsides and subsidies and other forms of support in return. One may ask, who is running the country?