Argentina's President Mauricio Macri Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Greening Argentina’s G20 Presidency

During the first few months of its G20 presidency, Argentina's government has focused on jobs, infrastructure, and food security. But, in contrast to the previous Chinese and German presidencies, it has de-emphasized climate change, jeopardizing the group's goal of ensuring sustainable economic growth.

WASHINGTON DC – When Argentina officially assumed the one-year presidency of the G20 in December, President Mauricio Macri’s agenda did not include climate change as a top priority. Unlike previous G20 presidencies, which linked economic-development goals to climate-related targets, Argentina’s decided to separate the issues.

Macri can be excused for assuming that a cautious G20 leadership is what his political fortunes require. He has, after all, suffered in the polls since undertaking a controversial reform of Argentina’s pension system. But if Macri believes that downplaying the importance of climate change is what his country needs, he is sorely mistaken. In fact, bringing bolder climate-change leadership to the G20 could benefit Argentina’s economy, while boosting Macri’s political standing, both nationally and on the world stage.

Argentina’s G20 agenda is what Macri calls a “people-centered” strategy for “fair and sustainable development.” During the official handover last year, Macri named jobs, infrastructure, and food security as the three priorities. He also said that Argentina would embrace the G20 presidency as an opportunity to play a greater role in promoting multilateralism.

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