G-20 leaders isolate Trump on climate, say Paris accord 'irreversible'
Germany's Merkel, China's President Xi Jinping, US President Trump, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, Turkey's President Erdogan, South Africa's President Zuma and Russia's President Putin at the first working session of the G-20. Photograph: (AFP)
A draft of an official announcement to be made at the G-20 shows world leaders have isolated US President Donald Trump over his climate sceptic stance at the G-20 summit on Friday.
While taking note of President Trump's decision to quit the Paris Climate Accord, the latest draft communique accessed by AFP underlines that the 2015 agreement is "irreversible" and affirms that other G-20 nations are committed to the deal.
The draft communique, however, removes a reference to a "global approach" mentioned in an earlier version that some countries felt could suggest there was a parallel track to Paris.
It also includes a new paragraph which says the United States will "work closely with other partners to help their access to and use of fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently", AFP reported.
Some experts were sceptical whether leaders would approve the reference to fossil fuels, which would be a clear nod to Washington.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is hosting the G-20 Summit, urged her counterparts to compromise at the start of talks on climate and trade.
"We all know the big global challenges and we know that time is pressing," Merkel said in her address to G-20 leaders in a hall at the Hamburg convention centre.
"And so solutions can only be found if we are ready for compromise and move towards each other, but without - and I stress this - bending too much, because of course we can also state clearly when there are differences."
Merkel, who is gearing up for a parliamentary election in September, faces the daunting task of steering the G-20 towards a consensus on trade, climate change and migration - all issues that have become more contentious since Trump entered the White House half a year ago promising an "America First" approach.
President Trump pulled the US out of the landmark agreement aimed at combating climate change last month.
Envoys have been working for weeks to bridge differences, and trying to come up with new language on the climate issue which would be put to the leaders for approval.
Earlier, leaders of the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China - called on the G-20 to push for implementation of the Paris climate deal despite Trump's decision to pull out.