United Nations chief Antonio Guterres urges action to avert climate change catastrophe

EurEuropean Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk attend a news conference at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka Japan 28 June 2019

EurEuropean Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk attend a news conference at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka Japan 28 June 2019

The modest language adopted by G-20 leaders was greeted as dangerously complacent by some environmental groups.

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for more concerted efforts from world leaders in tackling climate change.

The statement said, "trade and geopolitical tensions have intensified".

The US President added: "I think [certain countries] are losing a lot of the powers of what they can do with factories - I'm not talking about political power, although that comes with it".

The United States, as it has since Trump took power, reiterated its decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement "because it disadvantages American workers and taxpayers", and boasted that it had reduced its energy-related emissions by 14% between 2005 and 2017.

"It doesn't always work with a windmill".

Guterres is calling on governments to stop building new coal plants by 2020, cut greenhouse emissions by 45% over the next decade and overhauling fossil fuel-driven economies with new technologies like solar and wind. "It doesn't always work with solar, because solar's just not strong enough".

"Wind doesn't work for the most part without subsidy".

At the G20 meeting, 19 countries expressed their commitment to the Paris agreement, with the only the United States dissenting. I don't like it.

Mr Trump had reportedly been lobbying for the language in the joint statement to be watered down, but Mrs May said it was significant that a communique was agreed at the Osaka meeting and 19 of the G20 believed in the "irreversibility" of the Paris process.

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The US president is at odds with Western allies including Mrs May over climate change after pulling out of the global Paris agreement on the subject.

Macron said his "red line" had not been crossed.

But some high-polluting nations, led by Saudi Arabia, have questioned the IPCC's findings, leading to angry exchanges at closed-door talks in Bonn.

U.S. president Donald Trump has reportedly been pushing to water down the summit communique's language on climate change - but Theresa May wants "the strongest wording we can deliver".

US withdrew from the accord after Trump came to power. "As even the Chamber of Commerce recently declared, inaction is not an option". The countries of the G20 represent 80% of world emissions of greenhouse gases, he said.

Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies warned on Saturday of growing risks to the global economy but stopped short of denouncing protectionism, calling instead for a free, fair trade environment after talks some members described as hard.

"Despite the differences, all countries including Japan, the United States, the countries in European Union and developing countries share a common basic understanding that we are aiming to leave a better world to the next generation", Abe said.

Turkey has a rival bid to host the summit and Mrs May will meet the country's president Recep Tayyep Erdogan on the margins of the G20 on Saturday.

This article was written by Simon Denyer and Brady Dennis, reporters for The Washington Post.

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