May 23, 2017 / 2:55 PM / 2 months ago

Merkel calls for unity in climate talks before G7 as U.S. holds out

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FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko adress the media after a meeting at the German government guesthouse Meseberg Palace in Meseberg, Germany, May 20, 2017.Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged world nations on Tuesday to work together to fight global warming and, in a bid to convince U.S. President Donald Trump to drop any plans to ditch the Paris climate deal, argued there would be economic benefits.

Speaking at a meeting of about 30 nations in Berlin before meeting Trump at a Group of Seven leaders summit on May 26-27, Merkel told the Petersberg Dialogue that tackling climate change had to be a global effort.

"We are responsible for each other," said Merkel, without naming the United States.

"I am trying to convince doubters. There is still work to do," she told the meeting which is preparing for global talks on climate change in November.

Trump has said he will decide after the G7 summit whether the United States will remain part of the Paris Agreement which seeks to move the world away from fossil fuel use this century.

He has expressed doubts that climate change is man-made and in his election campaign last year said he would "cancel" the Paris deal and promote the coal industry instead.

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, due to lead the November talks between some 200 countries, pointed his finger directly at the U.S.

"We have an elephant in the room. That is uncertainty over the position of the United States," he said.

Merkel cited an Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report showing that bringing together growth and climate agendas could lift economic output by up to 2.8 percent in 2050.

"A low carbon path offers an opportunity to accelerate investment in infrastructure, create a short-term boost to economic growth and development and provide relief from problems like congestion, air pollution and lack of energy access," the report said.

If the economic benefits of avoiding the effects of climate change, such as flooding or storms, are factored in, the net increase to 2050 gross domestic product would be nearly 5 percent, the OECD added. 

Reporting by Markus Wacket and Alister Doyle in Oslo; Writing by Madeline Chambers, editing by Ed Osmond

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