Merkel urges bigger fight against climate change after U.S. move

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at the Digital Summit 2017 in Ludwigshafen, Germany June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany and the rest of Europe should redouble their efforts to fight climate change after the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate pact, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday.

Merkel told members of her conservative party in the German town of Erfurt that the U.S. decision would not stop those committed to protecting the earth from continuing their efforts.

“For us, it is clear that the Paris agreement is a cornerstone for cooperation in the world,” she told the event, which was livestreamed on Facebook. “I believe we must take even more decisive action in Germany and Europe to join forces to combat climate change.”

Merkel said the efforts would pay off for humanity and would also spur economic growth.

The German leader, who is seeking a fourth term in September national elections, said she had been involved in the issue for nearly her entire political career. She served as German Environment Minister from 1994 to 1998.

Climate change is likely to be a contentious issue when U.S. President Donald Trump visits Germany next month for a summit of the Group of 20 industrialized countries.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal, Andreas Rinke