'No consensus' reached on climate change in G20 communique

The leaders of the world's 19 largest economies, minus the US, have reaffirmed their pledge to the 2015 landmark Paris Climate Agreement and free trade at the end of the two-day G20 summit in Hamburg.

But US President Donald Trump seems to have emerged from the summit with two wins after snatching concessions in the final communique which has agreed on countries' right to "defensive" trade measures and acknowledged Washington's withdrawal from the Paris deal – although without downplaying other countries' commitment.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and US President Donald Trump attend a panel discussion titled "Launch Event Women's Entrepreneur Finance Initiative" during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8, 2017. /VCG Photo

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and US President Donald Trump attend a panel discussion titled "Launch Event Women's Entrepreneur Finance Initiative" during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8, 2017. /VCG Photo

The statement, which was reached after two days of heated discussion and "very difficult" talks as Chancellor Angela Merkel has described, said G20 leaders will commit to fighting protectionism, including "all unfair trade practices," but also acknowledged "the role of legitimate defense instruments in trade" – in a nod to Trump's policies that put "America First."

"We will keep markets open noting the importance of reciprocal and mutually advantageous trade and investment frameworks and the principle of non-discrimination, and continue to fight protectionism including all unfair trade practices and recognize the role of legitimate trade defense instruments in this regard."

The impasse on climate change has also been settled. 

Trump had previously called the phenomenon a hoax and withdrew the US from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement in June – a decision that virtually pitted him against all the attendees at the G20 summit.

But the final communique acknowledged Trump's decision to pull the US out of the accord, and fulfilled Washington's wish to "work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently."

Fossil fuels are one of the major causes of global warming.

Merkel said she was pleased that all G20 members, except Trump, had agreed in the communique that the Paris Climate Agreement was irreversible.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel  speaks at a press conference on the second and final day of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8, 2017. /CGTN Photo

German Chancellor Angela Merkel  speaks at a press conference on the second and final day of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8, 2017. /CGTN Photo

"I think it's very clear that we could not reach consensus, but the differences were not papered over, they were clearly stated," Merkel said at a press conference outlining the achievements of this year's summit.

The leader also said she disagreed with British Prime Minister Theresa May who said on Friday that she thought Washington could decide to return to the climate agreement.

A police special commandos unit SEK patrol during riots on July 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany, where leaders of the world's top economies gathered for a G20 summit. /VCG Photo

A police special commandos unit SEK patrol during riots on July 7, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany, where leaders of the world's top economies gathered for a G20 summit. /VCG Photo

Merkel also spoke of the "unbridled brutality" after violent clashes injured hundreds of police officers.

Chinese President Xi Jinping also had a tight schedule on Saturday, meeting with many world leaders including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Trump on the sidelines of the summit.

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