After days of deadlock over the US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, 19 other nations meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, renewed their pledge to reduce carbon emissions and combat global climate change. The summit’s joint statement ultimately noted President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement while upholding the commitments of the other nations. The statement was reached after days of violent protests in Hamburg.
“We take note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement,” said the joint summit statement, released on Saturday. However, the other G20 members resolved their commitments to cut emissions was “irreversible.”
In a closing news conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she deplored Trump’s decision to withdraw the US, but that she was “gratified” that the other 19 nations renewed their pledge and declined to renegotiate.
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.”
In the past, particularly during his campaign, Trump promised to revive the ailing American coal industry, and described the Paris agreement as an attempt to put American workers at a disadvantage. In a concession to President Trump on matters of trade, the statement stipulated the right of nations to protect their own markets, for the first time.
On Saturday, Trump cancelled his own planned news conference, underlining the divisive nature of the conference.
“I think it’s very clear that we could not reach consensus, but the differences were not papered over, they were clearly stated,” said Merkel. Unlike UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Merkel said she was not holding out hope the US would re-commit to the climate accord. May emphasized this hope at her own news conference on Saturday.
Recently elected French President Emmanuel Macron also said he hoped Trump would change his mind, saying “I never despair of convincing him because I think it’s my duty.”
Macron also announced another summit to be hosted in Paris in December, to continue to advance the agreement and to discuss financial concerns.
During the summit, Hamburg saw clashes between protesters and police that lasted into Saturday. Demonstrators opposed President Trump and Vladmir Putin, as well as climate change and the increasing wealth inequalities around the world. Protesters set fire to vehicles, set up barricades, and looted shops.