Disagreement on the issue of climate change was anticipated from the beginning of the meeting in Hamburg and Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed that is “the one crucial issue” to be discussed at the meeting. The US broke with the other members of G20 in June when it abandoned a coalition of 147 nations in the Paris Climate Accord. At the time, Trump insisted that the agreement would be renegotiated but other leaders said that was a pipe dream. Chancellor Merkel reiterated in Hamburg that “the other 19 member states of the G20 say that the Paris agreement is irreversible.” She also made it clear that she “deplores” the fact that the US pulled out of the accord.
Controversy first arose when the French-owned and Montgomery County, Maryland -based Keolis (already operating Virginia Railway Express trains) was the only bidder for the contract. The bidding process was suspended in the fall of 2010 due to lack of competition. Before bidding reopened in 2011, Maryland passed a law (at the request of Leo Bretholz and other Holocaust survivors) requiring Keolis's majority owner, SNCF (currently solely owned by the French government)  to fully disclose its role in transporting Jews to concentration camps during World War II (while SNCF was under control of the Nazi government), to the satisfaction of the Maryland state archivist, before Keolis would be allowed to place a bid for MARC service. Keolis faced similar issues while bidding for VRE operations in 2009, but in the end, they were allowed to run VRE.