EDITORIAL: Is there anything ‘America First’ policies won’t delay?

By JUDY PERPOSE, Financial Times

Debate at the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) began with what appeared to be solidarity over encouraging greater political action to mitigate the effects of climate change. However, efforts to reach a resolution on formalizing the market of international waste trade met major set-back as “America first” policies spark disagreement amongst committee members.

Just how long will this last?

Already in its third session, the spirits in the room appeared to be disheartened as discussions stalled once again at the OECD committee. The US delegation faced allegations of ‘America First’ policies being unsympathetic to changing business-as-usual industry practices on waste trade market.

Hungary hopes to relieve committee tensions and welcome the United States to join the proposed Waste Trade and System (WTS) program. Its initiative seeks to encourage renewable energies and recycling. Hungary claimed that the program will be able to better define what the international community would consider as a “waste unit,” including subdivisions between multiple categories including organic waste and sewage waste.

However, the “elephant in the room” refused to be silent.

“America first, but America not alone,” proclaimed the American delegate.

Although the United States claims it is working on solutions that are ‘fair’ and so that ‘all can contribute to the agreement,’ can climate change really wait for this back and forth? Has the UN resorted to tit-for-tat negotiations?  

The Statistics Portal reports a steady rise in US revenue from solid waste industry in the United States totalling roughly $60 billion US dollars in 2016 alone. With this heavy rise, is it really all that surprising that the US is delaying consensus building at OECD?
OECD members finally called the United States out and pushed for equal economic and sustainable growth in the waste trade industry.

“In five years, WTS will not only grow every single country’s GDP more than they can imagine,” said Hungary, “but will address the dent in climate change trends we are facing right now.”

Editor’s Note: The Financial Times has a proud history of including audio coverage to supplement its written journalism. For an audio version of this article, please visit this link.



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