Merkel Slams Trump: 'We Can't Wait for the Last Man on Earth to Be Convinced by Climate Change'

Merkel, Trump
President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Greek Theatre during a G-7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, May 26. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has vowed confrontation with President Donald Trump over the Paris climate agreement when the two meet up at next month's G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. In a speech to the German parliament Thursday, Merkel said that the European Union would push ahead with tackling the problem of climate change, even without the help of the United States.

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"Since the withdrawal of the U.S. [from the Paris climate accord], we're more determined than ever that this be a success," Merkel said, reports Deutsche Welle. "We can't wait for the last man on Earth to be convinced by the scientific evidence for climate change."

Trump announced that he was pulling out of the historic Paris agreement earlier this month, joining just two other countries not committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He has previously called climate change a "hoax," and the White House has repeatedly refused to reveal whether the U.S. president still holds that view.

Merkel was one of several world leaders to criticize Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris accord, labeling it "extremely regrettable." And the leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Union made clear that she would not shy away from her objections when the two come face-to-face on July 7.

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

Merkel was joined in her criticism by new French President Emmanuel Macron, who mocked Trump's famed slogan in a televised speech by saying, in English, "Make our planet great again."

But Merkel has been Trump's strongest European critic on a range of issues. Two weeks ago, she took aim at the U.S. president's planned wall along the border between the U.S. and Mexico, saying, "Putting up walls and cutting oneself off will not solve the problem."

During the G-7 summit last month, Trump put himself a collision course with Europe by criticizing NATO allies for their "chronic underfunding" while failing to endorse its mutual defense commitment.

In the aftermath of that meeting, Merkel made a strong statement that Europe could no longer depend on the U.S. and instead had to "take our destiny into our own hands."

Trump could soon further alienate the European Union with reports that he is set to impose large tariffs on shipments of steel from other countries. The EU is one of the biggest steel exporters to the U.S.

In her speech to parliament, Merkel, without ever mentioning Trump by name, appeared to condemn the U.S. president's "America First" policies.

"Whoever believes that the world's problems can be solved by isolationism and protectionism is mistaken," she said.