G20 closes with rebuke to Trump’s climate change stance

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HAMBURG, Germany — German Chancellor Angela Merkel closed the G20 summit in Hamburg with a rebuke to US President Donald Trump’s stance on climate change, but appeared to make a concession on his protectionist trade policies.

Merkel said she deplored the US’ decision to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement and said that all other 19 nations in the G20 remained committed to it.

Trump faced a chorus of global outrage last month when he announced he would withdraw the US from the accord, which obliges countries to reduce their carbon emissions to ward off catastrophic global warming.

The communiqe from the group of 19 countries and the European Union noted the US’ withdrawal from the accord but said the country affirmed its “strong commitment to an approach that lowers emissions while supporting economic growth and improving energy security needs.”

In her remarks, Merkel appeared to come down hard on Trump’s protectionist trade policies, saying she was glad that leaders agreed that “markets need to be kept open.”

“This is all about fighting protectionism and also unfair trade practices.”

But the final communique made concessions for “the role of legitimate trade defense instruments.”

US President Donald Trump won the 2016 election on an “America First” platform that would pull the country out of several multilateral trade deals and negotiations, as well as the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change.

The US had threatened to impose new tariffs on steel imports into the country, a comment that prompted European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to threaten the same in return, giving early warning signs of a trade war.

The leaders had been at an impasse over climate change and trade for most of the summit, and Merkel had made it clear that the US’ stance on the issues had made talks difficult.

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