European Union ‘more determined’ than ever to fight climate change: Angela Merkel

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that Europe was “more determined than ever” to fight climate change after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris agreement.

Speaking to the German parliament a week before hosting a G20 summit, Merkel called global warming an “existential challenge” for humanity and stressed that the 2015 Paris deal was “not negotiable”.

She vowed to stand her ground with Trump, saying that “the differences are obvious and it would be dishonest to try to cover that up. That I won’t do.”

The Paris Agreement commits signatories to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, which is blamed for melting ice caps and glaciers, rising sea levels and more violent weather events.

Speaking before she hosts several European leaders in Berlin on Thursday, Merkel said “the European Union unconditionally stands by its agreement in Paris and will implement it speedily and with determination”.

“More than that: Since the decision of the United States to leave the Paris climate agreement, we are more determined than ever to make it a success.”

She said the world needed to reach the international climate targets “because climate change spells one of the gravest challenges for humanity, an existential challenge for all of us on Earth”.

“We cannot and will not wait until the last person on Earth can be convinced about the scientific knowledge on climate change,” added Merkel, who holds a doctorate in physical chemistry.

“In a word: the Paris agreement is irreversible and not negotiable.”

Trump, who on the campaign trail labelled climate change a Chinese hoax, on June 1 announced America’s shock withdrawal from the Paris accord, which he labelled a “bad” deal.

The United States is the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China.

The Paris signatories vowed steps to keep the worldwide rise in temperatures “well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial times and to “pursue efforts” to hold the increase under 1.5 degrees Celsius.