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G20: Hamburg

G20 leaders except Donald Trump reaffirm commitment to ‘irreversible’ climate change agreement

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 July, 2017, 1:11am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 July, 2017, 1:49am

Leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) except US President Donald Trump have reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, saying it was “irreversible” in a declaration at the end of the summit in Hamburg, Germany.

World leaders made concessions on trade and climate language to Donald Trump in exchange for preserving a fragile unity of the club of major industrialised and emerging economies.

In a departure from final summit declarations that tend to outline consensus on issues that range from fighting terrorism to financial governance, the extraordinary conclusions this year spelled out differences on core issues.

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It acknowledged Trump’s decision to go his own way on taking the United States out of the 2015 Paris climate accord and clearly stated Washington’s wish to continue using and selling fossil fuels that are a main driver of global warming.

The declaration also stated for the first time the right of countries to protect their markets with “legitimate trade defence instruments” - wording that essentially gives Trump wiggle room to push on with his “America First” policy.

Trump, carried to the White House on a wave of public fury over deindustrialisation in vast areas of the United States, had launched “Buy American” and “Hire American” campaigns.

The nationalistic stance has set him on collision course with many of America’s allies, who warned Trump against an isolationist path and starting a round of trade war.

“Where there is no consensus, the communique spelt out the discord,” said host Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was praised by Russian President Vladimir Putin for finding an “optimal compromise” on the touchiest issue of climate.

World lines up against Trump’s policies on free trade and climate change at G20

French President Emmanuel Macron also hailed the approach, saying that the club found an “indispensable balance” through the text and halted any backsliding on fighting climate change, which is blamed for melting ice caps, rising seas and severe weather events.

The French leader, at his first G20 gathering, also took the opportunity to announce a new climate summit for December 12, which he said would focus on financing.

In a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the sideline of G20, Trump told Xi that “something has to be done” about North Korea at a time when the US leader has indicated that he is losing patience over China’s inaction towards Pyongyang.

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“I appreciate the things that you have done relative to the very substantial problem that we all face in North Korea, a problem that something has to be done about,” Trump told Xi, reported Reuters.

“It may take longer than I’d like, it may take longer than you’d like,” Trump said. “But there will be success in the end one way or the other.”

Meanwhile, Xi said he sees progress being made in bilateral ties since the first summit between the two leaders at the Florida club of Mar-a-Lago in April, despite “sensitive issues” remaining between the two countries, reported Xinhua.

Just days ahead the G20 meeting, North Korea claimed to have conducted its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, meaning the regime is moving close to being able to strike the US mainland.