Leaders pledge to boost climate efforts after Trump decision

German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, left, talks to German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a session of the German Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, Friday June 2, 2017. (Britta Pedersen/dpa via AP)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang listens to questions during a media conference at the conclusion of an EU-China summit in Brussels on Friday, June 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
A Greenpeace banner showing U.S. President Donald Trump and the slogan '#TotalLoser, so sad!' is projected on the facade of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany, Friday, June 2, 2017. Trump declared Thursday he was pulling the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate agreement, striking a major blow to worldwide efforts to combat global warming and distancing the country from its closest allies abroad. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas answers questions by The Associated Press during an interview in, Tallinn, Friday, June 2, 2017. The nation which will hold the European Union presidency as of next month says that the "very bad, very negative" decision of President Trump to pull the United States out of the global climate agreement will force the 28-nation bloc to take a stronger lead on the issue. (AP Photo/David Keyton)
A woman walks past a discarded 'Stop Trump' banner as Greenpeace protesters stood in silence outside the U.S. embassy in Madrid, Spain, Friday, June 2, 2017. The protesters gathered at the gates of the United States embassy in the Spanish capital to protest President Donald Trump's decision to pull the world's second-largest carbon dioxide emitter out of the Paris climate agreement. (AP Photo/Paul White)
In this June 1, 2017 photo Greenpeace activists demonstrate in front of the freighter "SBI'Subaru" holding a banner with the inscription "Planet Earth First"' in Hamburg, Germany. The activists had previously followed the freighter on inflatable rafts and wrote the inscriptions "No Coal" and "No Trump" on the freighter's hull. (Bodo Marks/dpa via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin answers a question at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St.Petersburg, Russia, Friday, June 2, 2017. Putin has ridiculed the U.S. focus on Russian ambassador's contacts with members of President Donald Trump's team, saying that the envoy was only doing his job. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, greets Chinese Premier Li Keqiang prior to a meeting at the Europa building in Brussels on Thursday, June 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, Pool)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, right, speaks with European Council President Donald Tusk as he arrives prior to a meeting at the Europa building in Brussels on Thursday, June 1, 2017. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)
This photo dated Thursday, June 1, 2017 shows the City Hall of Paris, France, illuminated in green following the announcement by US President Donald Trump that the United States will withdraw from the 2015 Paris accord and try to negotiate a new global deal on climate change. (AP Photo/Nadine Achoui-Lesage)
This photo dated Thursday, June 1, 2017 shows the City Hall of Paris, France, illuminated in green following the announcement by US President Donald Trump that the United States will withdraw from the 2015 Paris accord and try to negotiate a new global deal on climate change. (AP Photo/Nadine Achoui-Lesage)
Greenpeace protesters stand in silence with banners outside the U.S. embassy in Madrid, Spain, Friday, June 2, 2017. The protesters gathered at the gates of the United States embassy in the Spanish capital to protest President Donald Trump's decision to pull the world's second-largest carbon dioxide emitter out of the Paris climate agreement. (AP Photo/Paul White)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the media during a press statement at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Friday, June 2, 2017 on the United States withdraw from the Paris climate accord. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
In this image taken from video, lobsterman, Tim Pettis, works with his traps on the waterfront Thursday, June 1, 2017, in Portland, Maine. Pettis said that he has seen the effects of climate change in the warming waters he works in and wishes President Donald Trump could feel the same. His comments came on the same day Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement. (AP Photo/Robert Bukaty)
A Greenpeace banner showing U.S. President Donald Trump and the slogan '#TotalLoser, so sad!' is projected onto the facade of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany, Friday, June 2, 2017. Trump declared Thursday he was pulling the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate agreement, striking a major blow to worldwide efforts to combat global warming and distancing the country from its closest allies abroad. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, center, participates in a media conference with European Council President Donald Tusk, right, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the conclusion of an EU-China summit in Brussels on Friday, June 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Smoke from "Mittal Steel" factory rising in the air in Bosnian town of Zenica, Bosnia, on Friday, June, 2, 2017. Environmental activists in Bosnia, one of the poorest European countries suffering from some of the world’s highest levels of air pollution, are disappointed and concerned over the decision by President Donald Trump to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. (AP Photo/Almir Alic)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves after a press statement at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Friday, June 2, 2017 on the United States withdraw from the Paris climate accord. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the media during a statement at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Friday, June 2, 2017 on the United States withdraw from the Paris climate accord. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
A Greenpeace banner showing U.S. President Donald Trump and the slogan '#TotalLoser, so sad!' is projected onto the facade of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany, Friday, June 2, 2017. Trump declared Thursday he was pulling the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate agreement, striking a major blow to worldwide efforts to combat global warming and distancing the country from its closest allies abroad. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, right, gestures as he walks with European Council President Donald Tusk prior to a meeting at the Europa building in Brussels on Thursday, June 1, 2017. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)

PARIS — A Malian cattle herder, German environmental activists, leaders from Mexico to China — they're among millions on Friday denouncing President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord. Many nations pledged to ramp up their efforts to curb global warming instead.

Some allies pointedly refrained from criticism, however, and Russian President Vladimir Putin even joked that Trump's move made him a convenient scapegoat for any bad weather.

While Trump argued the landmark 2015 accord hurts U.S. jobs and business, others took a more global view. The French president's call to #MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain went viral online, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it's time to look ahead.

"This decision can't and won't stop all those of us who feel obliged to protect the planet," she said. "On the contrary. We in Germany, Europe and the world will combine our forces more resolutely than ever to address and successfully tackle challenges for humanity such as climate change."

Merkel, whose country hosts this year's international climate summit, called Trump's decision "extremely regrettable, and that's putting it very mildly."

Greenpeace activists projected Trump's silhouette onto the side of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin along with the words "#TotalLoser, so sad!"

In what could herald a tilt away from trans-Atlantic ties, European and Chinese officials joined to affirm their commitment to the Paris agreement, widely considered a landmark deal for bringing together almost all countries under a common goal.

European Council chief Donald Tusk, after meeting with visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Brussels, said the EU and China "are convinced that yesterday's decision by the United States to leave the Paris agreement is a big mistake."

Referring to "the latest unfortunate decisions of the new administration," Tusk said that the EU and China had "demonstrated solidarity with future generations."

Trump said the United States would be willing to rejoin the accord if it could obtain more favorable terms, but the leaders of France, Germany and Italy said in a joint statement that the agreement cannot be renegotiated.

Scientists blame manmade climate change for rising seas and increasing extreme weather. In the African country of Mali, many see global warming as the reason for a protracted drought.

In Mali's northern city of Timbuktu, 23-year-old Sididi Ould Batna has already lost a dozen cattle.

"The drought has become so severe that my animals are eating the branches of dried trees," he told The Associated Press on Friday. "I would tell Trump that here the misery is caused by climate change, and if he doesn't pay attention, the United States will be touched one day by these problems, too."

Fanta Coulibaly, 65, who sells vegetables in Mali's capital, Bamako, remembers when there was enough rain this time of year.

"Our rainy season used to start at the beginning of May but now it's the end of June, sometimes July, before the rains come regularly. The climate agreement gives me hope, and I ask Trump to think of us."

Poor countries are predicted to be among the hardest hit by global warming, with some foreseeing tens of millions of "climate refugees" in coming decades.

South Africa called the U.S. pullout "an abdication of global responsibility. It said the U.S. has a "moral obligation" to support poorer countries in the effort against climate change.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox said on Twitter that Trump is "declaring war on the planet itself."

Environmental activists in Bosnia, one of the poorest European countries, said they were worried the Trump's move would empower global polluters.

But activist Samir Lemes of the Eko Forum group in the industrial town of Zenica voiced hope the "unfortunate decision" would energize environmental protection efforts. "This (decision) is an accident our planet had been made to suffer, but it should be used to raise global awareness," he said.

In Paris, where the agreement was reached after painstaking negotiations, President Emmanuel Macron encouraged an American brain drain, inviting U.S. climate scientists to move to France instead.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo insisted that clean energy is already creating jobs and boosting economies, contrary to Trump's claims, and called him "a representative of a world gone by, a world that is looking back in the rear-view mirror and does not see what is happening today."

She shrugged off Trump's remark that he was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris.

"He must be the only person on the planet who doesn't like Paris," Hidalgo joked.

Other world leaders were more reticent in their criticism, either out of domestic concerns or because they don't want to alienate the U.S. as an important ally.

Putin, speaking at an economic forum in St. Petersburg, avoided criticizing Trump and noted the Paris accord offers broad maneuvering room for each signatory nation.

He joked that Trump's move made him a convenient person to blame for any bad weather, including wet snow in Moscow on Friday.

"Now we can dump it all on him and American imperialism," Putin said.

India, a major polluter and a growing economy, has kept mum on whether the U.S. decision will affect Indian energy policy, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi — who is coming to Paris on Saturday to meet Macron — offered no reaction to Trump's decision.

The Paris accord aims to prevent average temperature around the world from heating up by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) before the end of the century, compared to before the start of the industrial age.

Scientists say every fraction of a degree change in average temperatures can lead to noticeable swings in local weather patterns, although consequences are difficult to predict.

___

Cook reported from Brussels. Frank Jordans in Berlin, Baba Ahmed in Bamako, Mali, Ian Phillips in St. Petersburg, Russia, Eldar Emric in Zenica, Bosnia, Jamey Keaten in Geneva, Cara Anna in Johannesburg and Raf Casert in Tallinn, Estonia, contributed.

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