BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, adding her voice to a global chorus of defiance and criticism after President Trump said he would pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord, expressed profound regret at the decision, declaring on Friday, “This decision cannot and will not deter all of us who feel obliged to protect this earth.”
Ms. Merkel spoke with Mr. Trump by telephone about the decision on Thursday, then gave a three-minute statement on Friday in Berlin that was broadcast live by German television stations.
In tones similar to that of President Emmanuel Macron of France, who on Thursday invited American scientists to continue their environmental work in his country, Ms. Merkel said, “We will gather all our strength — in Germany, in Europe and in the world — to meet the great challenges of humanity, like climate change, and to successfully master these challenges.”
With sweeping language that the chancellor rarely uses, she added, “For all for whom the future of this planet is important, I say: Let us continue along this path together, so that we are successful for our Mother Earth.”Continue reading the main story
ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story
Mr. Trump’s rebuke of the agreement signed by 195 nations in 2015 deepened a trans-Atlantic rift laid bare during a recent NATO summit meeting in Brussels and a Group of 7 meeting in Italy, when the American president lectured other leaders on trade, climate and military spending. On Thursday, the leaders of France, Germany and Italy issued a joint statement rejecting Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would renegotiate the climate accords.
And officials around the world said that they would press for the climate agreement to be respected regardless of the American decision. “I can assure you, France will not give up the fight,” Mr. Macron said. With a twist on Mr. Trump’s campaign slogan, he added: “Make our planet great again.”
In a statement, the Japanese government called Mr. Trump’s decision “regrettable.” But the environment minister, Koichi Yamamoto, was more strident in comments he made to reporters, saying that Mr. Trump had “turned his back on the wisdom of human beings.”
Ms. Merkel, invoking her background as a scientist and a veteran of more than 20 years of international efforts to protect the planet, noted that it was especially important to help developing nations meet the challenges of global warming. Fiji, among the island nations most threatened by rising sea levels, is to be the focus of the next international conference on climate change, in November in Bonn, Germany.
The chancellor said that Fiji could count on Germany and France for support.
Environmental issues are especially important to German voters and to Ms. Merkel, who made her mark in international politics in the 1990s by shepherding an environmental agreement and the Kyoto climate pact, later rejected by President George W. Bush.
“What we began over 20 years ago and continued in Paris one and a half years ago with a historic quantum leap will lead to success,” Ms. Merkel said.
“The path, there is no doubt about it, is rocky,” she added. “I have known that ever since I started in politics. But I am also convinced, if I look back at these more than 20 years, that the path is irreversible.”
Ms. Merkel embraced the actions of companies and American states determined to carry out plans to safeguard the environment. “I am so moved and enthused that so many states and enterprises in the United States of America want to travel this path with us,” she said. “We will travel it together.”
Thirty mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses in the United States are preparing to submit a plan to the United Nations pledging to meet the country’s greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Paris Agreement.