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Merkel delivers furious response to Trump over climate decision

German chancellor calls on all ‘who care about the future of our planet’ to work together

German chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement to the media on Friday in reaction to US president Donald Trump’s announcement that he will pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord. Photograph: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

German chancellor Angela Merkel could barely contain her fury when she appeared on Friday morning to respond to the US decision to leave the Paris climate agreement.

In unusually outspoken remarks, delivering several digs at US president Donald Trump, the German leader said his decision was “extremely regrettable, and that’s putting in mildly”.

“We need this Paris agreement to protect creation and nothing can or will hold us back,” she said.

The priority now, she said, was for remaining Paris signatories to renew their commitment to save the “indispensable” climate agreement and address the challenge of global warming.

Mr Trump announced on Thursday that he was withdrawing the US from the “unfair” deal on climate change signed by almost 200 countries in Paris in ;late 2015.

Dr Merkel said she was “moved and enthused” by the number of groups, countries and companies, “above all in the US”, who had renewed their commitment to the agreement in light of the Trump decision.

“This decision cannot and will not hold back those of use who feel obliged to protect our earth,” said Dr Merkel in a brief statement in Berlin. “To all who care about future of our planet, I say: let us continue together so that we are successful for our Mother Earth.”

The German leader cut her political teeth as environment minister in the 1990s and was a key figure in securing agreement on the Kyoto Protocol. On Friday she insisted Berlin would continue to adhere to its Paris commitments and, challenging Mr Trump’s nationalist economic arguments, Dr Merkel said the agreement was in the common good and would bring prosperity for all.

“There is no doubt the path is stony, something I’ve experienced repeatedly since I began in politics,” she said, her voice quavering. “But what we began over 20 years ago, and what we agreed in Paris 18 months ago in a historic quantum leap, this will lead to success.”