March 17, 2017 / 2:03 PM / 4 months ago

Climate change financing dropped from G20 draft statement

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FILE PHOTO: Climate activists Lesley Butler and Rob Bell (R) "sunbathe" on the edge of a frozen fjord in the Norwegian Arctic town of Longyearbyen April 25, 2007.Francois Lenoir/File Photo

BADEN-BADEN, Germany (Reuters) - Opposition from the United States, Saudi Arabia and others has forced Germany to drop a reference to financing programs to combat climate change from the draft communique at a G20 finance and central bankers meeting.

A G20 official taking part in the meeting said on Friday that efforts by the German G20 presidency to keep the wording on climate change financing had run into resistance.

"Climate change is out for the time being," said the official, who asked not to be named.

At their last meeting in July 2016 in the Chinese city of Chengdu, the G20 financial leaders said they encouraged all signatories of the Paris Agreement on climate change to bring the deal into force as soon as possible.

FILE PHOTO: A male polar bear carries the head of a polar bear cub it killed and cannibalized in an area about 300 km (186 miles) north of the Canadian town of Churchill in this picture taken November 20, 2009.Iain D. Williams/File Photo

But U.S. President Donald Trump, who took office in November, has called global warming a "hoax" concocted by China to hurt U.S. industry and vowed to unpick the Paris climate accord that is supposed to curb rising temperatures.

Under the Chinese G20 presidency, finance ministers last year called on all governments to implement financial commitments made under the Paris deal in a "timely" way and promised to continue working on climate finance in 2017.

Trump's administration on Thursday proposed a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency's budget, as the White House seeks to eliminate climate change programs and trim initiatives to protect air and water quality.

Asked about climate change programs, Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget director, told reporters on Thursday "we consider that to be a waste of (Americans') money."

"I think the president is fairly straightforward. We're not spending money on that," he said.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski and Michael Nienaber; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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