At G20, Merkel leads chorus of critics upset at U.S. withdrawal from Paris climate accord

During her closing remarks at the G20 summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was critical of the United States' decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI

July 9 (UPI) — In her closing remarks at the G20 summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was once again critical of President Trump and the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

“Unfortunately — and I deplore this — the United States of America left the climate agreement, or rather announced their intention of doing this,” Merkel said as she prepared to present a G20 declaration.

“I am grateful that every other head of state and government acknowledges that the Paris agreement is irreversible,” Merkel added.

Trump’s rejection of the Paris accord made him a lonely figure at the G20 summit, as the other 19 nations represented in Hamburg remain committed to the climate agreement. Indeed, the signature of the U.S. was the only one missing from the “G20 Hamburg Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth.”

In June, Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris accord, saying the U.S. would work to negotiate a fairer deal.

“We will start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” Trump said in June. “And if we can, that’s great, and if we can’t, that’s fine.”

Trump’s decision even earned criticism from leaders sympathetic to the president’s brand of politics. British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was unhappy with Trump’s decision and had implored him to reconsider.

Putin, who Trump met face-to-face for the first time since the 2016 presidential election, took a more optimistic view of the discord on display at the summit in Hamburg, Germany.

“Although the U.S. will withdraw, they are nevertheless still prepared to carry on now [with] discussions on this subject,” Putin said. “It seems to me this is a very positive point and can be chalked up to the successes of Angela Merkel.”

Merkel also earned a moderate concession from Trump on trade, who announced he was not a supporter of protectionist policies. The president claimed his aim is to negotiate better deals for American workers. Trump has made his preference for bilateral trade agreements over multilateral agreements well known.

European leaders appeared to meet Trump halfway on trade, acknowledging “the role of legitimate trade defense instruments” in the summit’s declaration.

Still, Merkel offered a verbal rebuke of Trump’s trade positions. The president recently threatened to place fresh tariffs on steel imports.

“Markets need to be kept open,” she said. “This is all about fighting protectionism and also unfair trade practices.”


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