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G20 summit: It's Trump versus the rest again on climate change goal shift

Negotiators had worked through the night to try and reach agreement on the communique released Saturday after the G-20 summit

Ilya Arkhipov & Gregory Viscusi | Bloomberg 

Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump holds a news conference on the final day of the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan. Photo: Reuters

President Donald Trump again split from other Group of 20 nations over climate change, with the US rebuffing the need for the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions.

Negotiators had worked through the night to try and reach agreement on the communique released Saturday after the G-20 summit. The so-called 19+1 formula on is similar to what was agreed at the gathering last year in Argentina.

“The United States reiterates its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement because it disadvantages American workers and taxpayers,” the document says. It also says the US “is a world leader in reducing emissions” and is committed to deploying advanced technologies to clean up the environment.

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The other 19 nations committed to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and its “irreversibility." They emphasized the importance of providing financial resources to developing countries as part of the deal.

The wrangling reflects the broader divide on show in previous summits, where Europe and are seeking to preserve a global system of economic rules that Trump frequently attacks as outdated and unfair. The whole process is overshadowed by the US-China trade war and Trump’s threats to take tariff action against Japan, India and Europe.

The US generally wants shorter, whittled down statements that don’t go into heavy detail or cover issues seen as less core such as climate, one official said. It’s gotten so bad that countries at one point argued over how to clean up plastic rubbish from the world’s oceans, another negotiator said earlier.


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French President Emmanuel Macron acknowledged the communique process at multilateral summits has problems. France is hosting the Group of Seven meeting in August, and Macron told reporters he’s "going to try a new method” for that gathering.

That means smaller statements and engagements that countries can choose to sign or not sign, he said.

“I’ve seen G-7 communiques signed at seven only to see the US pull out of the Paris Accord, and now we have to have fights over whether to have communiques signed at 19 or 20.”

First Published: Sat, June 29 2019. 14:16 IST
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