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France says will lead renewed effort to "make the planet great again"
[PARIS] France, home of the 2015 Paris climate change accord, will redouble its efforts to limit carbon emissions and pull other signatory countries along with it, Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot said on Friday.
Mr Hulot was speaking hours after US President Donald Trump confirmed his plan to pull the world's second biggest carbon emitter out of the deal on the basis that it was bad for the American economy and would weaken its sovereignty.
"It's not dead. On the contrary France itself, rather than reduce its ambitions, will revise them upwards and we will pull along in our wake a number of other states," Mr Hulot said on Europe 1 radio.
"France intends to maintain and reinforce its diplomatic leadership on this subject."
Mr Hulot is a well-known French environmentalist who was pulled into the new government of President Emmanuel Macron as a minister when it was formed less than three weeks ago.
Joining a stream of international criticism of the move, he said talks would immediately get under way about a riposte, including with India, whose Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits France this weekend.
Late on Thursday, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mr Macron urged their allies to speed up efforts to combat climate change and said they would do more to help developing countries adapt.
Mr Macron himself went on television on Thursday night to condemn Mr Trump's move. Speaking in a separate address in English, he invited US scientists and climate change researchers to come to France, and stole a Mr Trump catch-phrase to say it was time to "make the planet great again".
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe called Mr Trump's decision "calamitous".
"The gravity of this subject is well documented, and everyone knows the considerable efforts we have to deliver to be up to this major challenge, yet the president of the United States consciously decides to pull out," he said on RTL Radio.
"It's calamitous for the planet."