Theresa May has urged countries to be more ambitious in tackling the climate crisis after Donald Trump reiterated his determination to ditch the Paris accord.
The prime minister led a session on the environment at the G20 summit in Osaka, which will be one of her final appearances on the world stage.
In the G20 communique, which was agreed after many hours of wrangling among the “sherpas”, who represent the group’s member states, 19 of the 20 reiterated their commitment to the Paris accord.
The final wording echoed a statement from the last G20 summit, in Buenos Aires, but government sources suggested some countries, including the US, India and China, had tried to water it down.
The US president had sought to excise the reference to the Paris agreement from the communique altogether, with the help of several other countries, reportedly including Brazil and Turkey.
May said she was pleased there was a communique at all.
At her press conference at the end of the summit, the prime minister said: “In recent months we have heard hundreds of thousands of young people urge us – their leaders – to act on climate change before it’s too late.
“I am proud that the UK has now enshrined in law our world-leading net zero commitment to reduce emissions. And I have called on other countries to raise their ambition and embrace this target,” she said.
The prime minister said the communique showed the 19 members’ continued support for the Paris agreement and she stressed the importance of cooperation with other countries.
“I firmly believe in the importance of international cooperation and compromise. In Osaka this week we have worked hard to bridge differences between G20 countries on some of the biggest challenges our nations face.
“That has not been easy but we have made progress. I continue to believe that we are stronger when we work together.”
May did not have a formal bilateral meeting with Trump at the summit, but said she had held discussions with him, and pointed out that he had visited the UK earlier this month.
Earlier, a senior UK official said of the communique: “I think it was a long night for the sherpas and I think it’s definitely a challenging process but work is ongoing in relation to the communique so we’ll have to see where we end up.”
He said the UK had pushed for “the strongest wording we can deliver”.
May has embraced the cause of tackling climate change as her three-year premiership draws to a close – telling journalists en route to Japan that she had been inspired on her walking holidays in Switzerland by seeing the rapid rate at which a glacier had receded over the past decade.