World leaders wrapped up the Group of 20 (G20) summit on Saturday by releasing their final statement, a communique that was remarkable this year in that it singled out the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. President Trump’s decision, which he announced in June, dragged out the negotiations well into into Saturday. At a press conference that marked the meetings’ end, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who hosted the summit in Hamburg, said she “deplored” the U.S. exit from the agreement.
The final statement read: “We take note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris agreement,” but it also added a stern reminder that all other G20 members had reaffirmed the agreement as “irreversible.” In refusing to support the climate agreement, America is now the only country not signed onto the deal except for Syria, which is in the midst of a civil war, and Nicaragua, which believed the agreement wasn’t strong enough.
“Nothing’s easy,” Trump said of how the negotiations played out.
Merkel did most of the hard work in bridging the gap between the U.S. and 19 other countries at the meeting. She hosted the summit in her birthplace, and she’d hoped it would boost her fourth-term reelection campaign ahead the vote in September, with her playing the central role as unifier. But media attention at the meeting was mostly diverted. Locally, press was distracted with violent protest held by anti-capitalists that shut down much of downtown Hamburg. Internationally, most of the focus was on Trump, whether it was his meetings with world leaders, or with his policies on migration, free trade, and pulling out of the Paris climate agreement. Still, Merkel emerged as a pivotal agent for compromise.