G20 leaders reaffirm support of Paris climate change agreement without U.S.

Officials at the Group of 20 summit say leaders haven’t reached an agreed statement on climate change — one of the most contentious topics at talks after the U.S. said it would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

European Union officials who briefed reporters on draft final statement say the document contained a general commitment to fighting climate change, and then a separate paragraph that “took note” of the U.S. decision to withdraw.

A third paragraph then affirmed the support of the 19 other members for the Paris deal. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the draft before it’s agreed.

Officials debated language pushed by the U.S. in which it proposed to help other countries use fossil fuels more cleanly. That ran into objections.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Saturday that China will fulfil its obligations under the Paris climate change agreement, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The two were meeting on the sidelines of the summit in Hamburg, Germany. 

On trade issues, EU officials say G20 leaders have agreed to keep their markets open to foreign trade. But the group’s draft statement also says trade needs to be mutually beneficial and countries can take steps to protect their markets.

The language on trade keeps the traditional G20 condemnation of protectionism, or keeping out foreign competitors with unfair import taxes or regulations. But countries also agreed to fight “all unfair trade practices” and recognize “legitimate trade defence instruments.” The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the draft text before its release.

Trade has been a hotly discussed issue at the summit, as U.S. President Donald Trump pushes his “American First” agenda. Trump has focused on making trade fair as well as free and has criticized trade relationships where the other countries sell more to the U.S. than they buy.

The host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said after the first day of meetings in Hamburg on Friday that discussions on trade were very difficult and that differences on climate change were clear.

The G20 is made up of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, France, Britain, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union. The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Guinea, Senegal, Singapore and Vietnam are also attending.

Saturday’s sessions come after a second night of trouble elsewhere in Hamburg, as rioters set up street barricades, looting supermarkets and attacking police with slingshots and firebombs. Hundreds of officers went into buildings in the Schanzenviertel neighborhood to arrest troublemakers.

Security forces in Hamburg use water cannon on protesters0:51

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