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Merkel vows to put climate change at centre of G20 talks

Activists hold a banner, behind a giant globe, as they protest in front of Chancellery in Berlin, Germany June 29, 2017

Tackling climate change will be one of the central tasks of the upcoming Hamburg G20 summit of the world’s largest economies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told lawmakers on Thursday following the US’s withdrawal from the Paris climate pact.

Merkel, who will host the gathering of global leaders in the northern port city, said the climate change scepticism of the US administration of President Donald Trump made it all the more important for the European Union to show leadership.

“Since the decision of the US to quit the Paris Climate Agreement, we are more determined than ever to make it successful,” she said.

“We must tackle this existential challenge, and we cannot wait until every last person on earth has been convinced of the scientific proof.”

When chairing the summit, Merkel said she would seek to guide talks such that they furthered the goals of the Paris deal, but she conceded that differences with the US meant discussions would not be easy.

She said the forum, which meets on July 7 and 8, would also discuss common approaches to trade, another area in which the Trump administration’s protectionist instincts are at odds with the European Union’s.

“Anybody who believes the problems of the world can be solved with isolationism and protectionism is labouring under a huge error,” Merkel said.

Far from being weakened by Britain’s vote to quit the EU, the bloc would remain united, she added, promising a renewed drive with France’s President Emmanuel Macron to deepen cooperation within the bloc and the Eurozone.

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