The 2017 G20 Summit is officially over, and as most experts predicted, the two-day summit in Hamburg had more than its fair share of highlights. From the huge protests and violent riots that went on outside of the summit to the many meetings and agreements that took place within, here are some of the most important things to take away from this year’s G20 meeting:
Trump Responsible for the Summit’s Biggest Headlines
Prior to the summit, most experts predicted that the majority of the headlines would revolve around US President Donald Trump—and they weren’t wrong. On the first day of the summit, Trump had his first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Although it was originally scheduled to last for only 30 minutes, the two leaders ending up spending well over two hours discussing various issues, including tackling cyber crime and a possible ceasefire (which is now in effect) in Syria.
In an effort to show he’s serious about holding North Korea responsible for its continued missile tests, Trump spent much of his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping attempting to convince his counterpart to put more pressure on the reclusive country. Still, despite these two meetings with Putin and Xi, Trump also made headlines for his stances on trade and climate change, which many see as an attempt to undo many of the accomplishments that President Obama made in these two areas.
Climate Change Dominates the Agenda
While Trump was busy making headlines left and right, the rest of the world’s leaders attempted to focus on initiatives revolving around preventing climate change and mass migration. Of course, the fact the Trump recently withdrew the US from the Paris climate agreement was always going to be a huge issue of importance.
At the close of the summit, Germany’s Angela Merkel took one more opportunity to criticize Trump’s decision and specifically mentioned how all of the other 19 G20 leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the ‘irreversible’ Paris climate accord. Even Vladimir Putin joined in on the act and released a statement calling climate change a major issue and noting how he and Merkel made great progress on compromises.
Riots Send Hamburg Reeling
Protests have long been a part of most previous G20 Summits and it was already expected that anti-capitalist protesters would try to disrupt this year’s event. Still, the protests in Hamburg ended up being particularly violent and in some cases resulted in police cars being set on fire, looting, and full-scale riots. By the end of the weekend, nearly 200 police officers had been injured and nearly 100 protesters had been arrested.
At one point on Friday, the protests even made it so that US First Lady Melania Trump was unable to join her husband at the summit. Still, considering the fact that 100,000 protesters had been expected, things probably could have been much worse. Nonetheless, that is probably not much help to the many Hamburg residents who were injured or had their homes or businesses threatened by the many fires and riots.
Although the smoke is only now beginning to clear, the single biggest take away from the 2017 G20 Summit seems to be Donald Trump’s continued refusal to work with the rest of the world on climate change. In fact, many experts specifically noted that while the rest of the world moves ahead with cutting carbon emissions, Trump is increasingly ensuring that he and the United States become more politically isolated.