November 15, 2017 / 4:59 PM / a year ago

France, Germany urge more action on climate after US pullout

BONN, Germany, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Germany and France promised to limit the use of coal on Wednesday and urged more global action to limit climate change after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Paris agreement.

“Climate change is by far the most significant struggle of our times,” Chancellor Angela Merkel told a Nov. 6-17 meeting of 200 nations in Bonn on ways of bolstering the Paris agreement that aims to end the fossil fuel era this century.

Both she and French President Emmanuel Macron said the pact was only a start to reining in a rise in global temperatures and needed to be toughened.

Germany needed to reduce its dependence on coal power in order to significantly cut emissions, she said.

Merkel’s conservatives are seeking to form a coalition government that includes the ecologist Greens, who are demanding steep cuts in carbon dioxide emssions by 2020.

“We know that Germany still uses coal to a large extent and coal, especially brown coal, should make a contribution to meet our (emissions reduction) goals,” Merkel said.

Macron said France aimed to close down all coal-fired power plants by 2021 as part of action to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

And he said France would make up for a shortfall in U.S. funding for the climate science research by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“I can guarantee that starting in 2018 the IPCC will have all the money that it needs to continue our decision making,” he said. “They will not miss a single euro.”

Trump, who doubts climate change is primarily caused by man-made emissions, said in June that he will pull out of the Paris Agreement and instead promote the coal and fossil fuel industries.

Merkel praised an alliance of U.S. states, cities and companies called “America’s Pledge” to compensate for Trump’s decision.

“I welcome this as it highlights the importance of climate protection in large parts of the U.S. regardless of the decision by President Trump to leave the Paris accord.” (Additional reporting by Joseph Nasr; Writing by Alister Doyle; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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