Leaders of 19 nations at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, have renewed their pledge to implement the Paris deal on climate change, despite the US pulling out.
Deadlock over the issue had held up the last day of talks in Hamburg but a final agreement was eventually reached.
The final agreement acknowledges President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement without undermining the commitment of other countries.
The compromise comes after violent protests in the host city.
The joint summit statement released on July 8 said: “We take note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.”
However, the leaders of the other G20 members agreed the accord was “irreversible”.
The statement also said the US would “endeavor to work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently”.
President Trump has pledged to help the US coal industry make a comeback and has previously characterized the Paris agreement as aiming to disadvantage his country’s workers.
In press conference as the two-day summit drew to a close, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she still deplored President Trump’s position on the Paris accord but she was “gratified” the other 19 nations opposed its renegotiation.
As well as insisting on the inclusion of separate America-only paragraphs in the final text, Donald Trump canceled his own scheduled news conference on July 8, reinforcing the image of the G20 as the G19 + 1.
“I think it’s very clear that we could not reach consensus, but the differences were not papered over, they were clearly stated,” Angela Merkel told reporters.
Angela Merkel said she did not share the view of UK Prime Minister Theresa May that Washington could decide to return to the climate agreement.
However, Theresa May reiterated her belief that the US could rejoin the accord in her news conference on July 8.
French President Emmanuel Macron also remained hopeful of persuading President Trump to change his mind, saying: “I never despair of convincing him because I think it’s my duty.”
Emmanuel Macron announced that Paris would host another summit on December 12 to make further progress on the climate agreement and to address financing.
There have been large protests in the city, with demonstrators and armed police clashing into the early hours of Saturday.
Demonstrators – who were protesting against the presence of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, climate change and global wealth inequalities – set fire to vehicles and barricades, threw rocks at officers and looted shops.
At one point, police chased protesters across rooftops while officers on the streets used water cannon on protesters.
Nearly 200 police officers were injured during the protests. Dozens of protesters have been detained.
World’s leaders reacted to President Donald Trump’s announcement that the US is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
UN chief Antonio Guterres’ spokesman called President Trump’s announcement “a major disappointment” while the EU said it was “a sad day for the world”.
However, senior Republicans and the US coal industry backed the move.
President Trump said the accord “punished” the US and would cost millions of American jobs.
In an address at the White House, the presdient said he was prepared to negotiate a new agreement or re-enter the accord on improved terms.
“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Donald Trump said.
The Paris agreement commits the US and 187 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and “endeavor to limit” them even more, to 1.5C.
Only Syria and Nicaragua did not sign up to the deal.
Donald Trump characterized the Paris agreement as a deal that aimed to hobble, disadvantage and impoverish the US.
He claimed the agreement would cost the US $3 trillion in lost GDP and 6.5 million jobs – while rival economies like China and India were treated more favorably.
Image source Flickr
President Trump said he was fulfilling his “solemn duty to protect America and its citizens”.
He added: “We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore – and they won’t be.”
Donald Trump did not give a timescale. However, under the agreement, a nation seeking to leave the pact can only give notice three years after the date it entered into force – November 16, 2016.
The process of leaving then takes another year, meaning it would not be complete until just weeks after the US presidential election in 2020.
US payments to the UN Green Climate Fund, which helps developing countries cope with the effects of climate change, will stop.
Former President Barack Obama, who agreed to the Paris deal, immediately criticized Donald Trump’s move, accusing the Trump administration of “rejecting the future”.
Disney CEO Robert Iger and the entrepreneur Elon Musk both resigned from White House advisory councils.
Elon Musk said: “Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”
However, Republican congressional leaders and the US coal industry backed the move, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell supporting President Trump “for dealing yet another significant blow to the Obama administration’s assault on domestic energy production and jobs”.
The US biggest coal mining company, Peabody Energy, said the agreement would have badly affected the US economy.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called the decision “one of the worst policy moves made in the 21st Century because of the huge damage to our economy, our environment and our geopolitical standing”.
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said he was “deeply disappointed” by President Trump’s decision.
UK’s PM Theresa May, who expressed her disappointment and told President Trump in a phone call that the deal protects the “prosperity and security of future generations”.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he respected Donald Trump’s decision but believed it was a “mistake both for the US and for our planet”.
Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso said: “I’m not just disappointed, but also feel anger.”
President Trump indicated he was open to another climate deal, saying he would “begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States”.
However, Donald Trump’s words suggested this was not a priority.
“We will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine,” he said.
During Donald Trump’s election campaign he dismissed climate change as a “hoax”.
French, German and Italian leaders quickly issued a joint statement rejecting a renegotiation of the agreement.
The statement said: “We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies.”
President Emmanuel Macron reflected the defiance among the remaining signatories, saying “we are fully committed”.
Reworking one of Donald Trump’s own phrases, President Macron added: “Wherever we live, whoever we are, we all share the same responsibility: make our planet great again.”
The Chinese foreign ministry said the parties to the Paris accord “should cherish this hard-won outcome”.
Meanwhile, the Democratic governors of New York, California and Washington all quickly vowed to respect the terms of the Paris deal.