France says final G20 communique must mention Paris climate change agreement

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a news conference after the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 21, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

PARIS (Reuters) - France said it will not accept a final G20 communique that does not mention the Paris climate change agreement, as President Emmanuel Macron hardened his position on climate change ahead of the G20 meeting.

Japanese media reported on Wednesday that leaders of the G20 top economies will call this week for the promotion of free trade to achieve strong global growth, as the United States and China seek to resume talks to resolve a bitter trade dispute.

In preparing a joint communique, Japan, the chair of the meetings, seeks common ground between the United States, which opposes language denouncing protectionism, and other nations, which want a stronger warning against the risk of trade tension.

However, France was adamant that any final G20 communique must also mention the 2016 Paris Climate Change agreement that was set up to protect the environment.

“I’ve heard a lot of people say ‘I have red lines’, and there are a lot of people who are saying that they no longer want to sign G7 or G20 communiques because there are these red lines,” Macron told an audience of French expats in Tokyo.

“As for myself, I have one red line. If we don’t talk about the Paris Agreement and if we don’t get an agreement on it amongst the 20 members in the room, we are no longer capable of defending our climate change goals, and France will not be part of this, it’s as simple as that,” he added.

France was the driver behind the 2016 Paris Agreement to limit global warming, and the French parliament is now debating an energy bill that targets net zero emissions by 2050.

The G20 group of 20 major economies hold a summit in Japan this weekend.

Reporting by Marine Pennetier; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta/Leigh Thomas