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French minister calls out Trump on climate change as Irma wreaks havoc

[PARIS] French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot said on Friday extreme weather conditions like the powerful hurricane bearing down on Florida risked becoming the norm, and took a dig at US President Donald Trump's stance on climate change.

In an interview with France 2 TV about Hurricane Irma, Mr Hulot implied that Mr Trump - who has called global warming a hoax - was ignoring the reality of man-made climate change, which most mainstream scientists regard as an established fact.

Mr Trump said in May he was pulling the United States out of the landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change that was brokered in Paris, saying it would harm the US economy and cost jobs.

Irma - described by Mr Trump as a storm of "absolutely historic destructive potential" - pummelled Cuba and the Bahamas on Friday, and a second powerful hurricane was tracking towards the north-eastern Caribbean.

Asked if the storms might force Mr Trump to rethink his climate change policy, Mr Hulot said: "What will change in the United States are the federal states, the cities, a whole section of society. I think that is what will make up for the reservations of the American president on the links between cause and effect."