German Chancellor Angela Merkel is battling to prevent US President Donald Trump undermining the world leaders’ united front on climate change.
At the Paris climate deal, all world leaders spoke in favour of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees but that was after a massive diplomatic effort by President Barack Obama made membership of the climate club a moral imperative.
He and the French hosts created such an atmosphere that even the normally foot-dragging Russians and Saudis committed to the deal, despite their long history of slowing progress in climate negotiations behind the scenes.
They own vast fossil fuel reserves of oil and gas and fear they will stand to lose if the world shifts away from fossil fuels.
Many a UN climate conference has drawn to a semi-successful close, only for the chair to wearily announce “objection from Saudi Arabia”.
The task for Chancellor Merkel and her allies is to bind these two nervous bedfellows into the great climate alliance between the EU and China, leaving the US looking out of touch.
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Ideally, from Europe’s standpoint, President Trump would recant his rejection of the Paris deal.