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EU girds for stormy G20, climate battle with Trump
By Hui Min NEO
Berlin (AFP) June 29, 2017

Trump 'proud' of leaving Paris climate deal
Washington (AFP) June 29, 2017 - US President Donald Trump on Thursday strongly defended his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord, declaring himself "proud" of the move.

"In order to protect American jobs, companies and workers, we've withdrawn the United States from the one-sided Paris Climate Accord," Trump said to applause, during a speech on the future of the US energy sector.

"I will tell you we're proud of it," he said. "And when I go around, there are so many people that say thank you. You saved the sovereignty of our country."

"And maybe we'll be back into it someday, but it will be on better terms," he vowed. "It will be on fair terms."

Climate change has become a major bone of contention between the United States and its Western allies, and the issue is set to loom large when Trump meets Group of 20 leaders in Hamburg, Germany next week.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared headed for a collision course with Trump, vowing Thursday to seek a clear commitment to fight global warming from at the July 7-summit, and calling the 2015 Paris deal "not negotiable."

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.

Trump -- who on the campaign trail labeled climate change a Chinese hoax -- on June 1 announced America's shock withdrawal from the accord, which he dubbed a "bad" deal.

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

European leaders vowed Thursday to defend the landmark Paris climate pact at a G20 summit next week, setting them on collision course with US President Donald Trump at what is expected to be a stormy meeting.

Leaders of Germany, France, Italy and other EU economies acknowledged their long standing ties with Washington but said they would not give in on "existential" threats like global warming.

They also stressed the importance of keeping markets open, warning that the protectionism and isolationism symbolised by Trump's "America First" stance won't solve global problems.

On the biggest challenges, Europe was now "a reference point," said EU Council President Donald Tusk after the G20 preparatory meeting hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The EU stood for a rules-based international system, he said, vowing that "we speak with one voice" at the G20 summit.

Merkel, who will host the July 7-8 summit in her birth city of Hamburg, said she "knew that we could not expect discussions to be easy" after Trump announced in early June that the US would withdraw from the Paris deal.

"The differences are obvious and it would be dishonest to try to cover that up. That I won't do," she said.

Trump's exit from the 2015 Paris pact had made Europe "more determined than ever" to make the accord a success, she stressed.

The German leader won strong support from her European allies, with France's President Emmanuel Macron saying: "On climate, we reaffirm clearly our very strong engagement for the Paris accord and our willingness to go forward."

"And for me personally, I hope that the others can be brought back to their senses," he added.

- Don't isolate anyone -

Also on the G20 guest list are Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Arabia's King Salman -- meaning other minefield issues include the Syrian war, Ukraine conflict and the diplomatic shut-out of Qatar.

Germany Thursday said it had turned down Erdogan's request to make a speech to ethnic Turks on the sidelines of the G20, sparking criticism from Ankara and threatening another headache for the host country.

China's President Xi Jinping and Merkel will next Wednesday unveil a pair of pandas lent as a goodwill gesture to Berlin's zoo -- but Merkel also pointed to tensions with the Asian export giant.

Even though Beijing has emerged as an ally to Europe in preaching free markets and climate protection, Merkel warned against unfettered Chinese economic expansionism.

"Europe must work hard to defend its influence and, above all, to speak with one voice to China," Merkel told business weekly WirtschaftsWoche.

"Seen from Beijing, Europe is more like an Asian peninsula. Obviously, we see things differently."

Underlining Merkel's scepticism of China's intentions on free trade, Macron said that "Europe, I believe, is the only hope in really defending the vision of a just free trade, multilateralism, that is both against protectionism and all forms of dumping or the non-respect of international trade rules".

While also taking aim at Trump over his trade policy, Macron stressed that the EU was not seeking to isolate any G20 member.

"It's pointless to isolate a country," he said. "Mr Trump expressed himself very clearly and we reacted rapidly that we do not share his vision."

But he said the EU hopes to get the US to take a longer-term view on the climate issue.

"It's very important to voice disagreement sometimes, and to not cede when defending the right position such as in the case of the climate. But at the same time, we should not drop discussions which are ... indispensable for global balance."

US mayors bypass Trump to back Paris climate goals
Brussels (AFP) June 27, 2017
President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord has triggered a bipartisan push from US mayors to stick to the emissions cuts Washington had pledged to hit, the mayor of Atlanta said Tuesday. Mayor Kasim Reed said he was sending a signal of "optimism, passion and action" on fighting climate change to mayors worldwide despite the pullout Trump announced this month. ... read more

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Climate Science News - Modeling, Mitigation Adaptation

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