China and Europe pledged on Friday, June 2 to unite to save what German Chancellor Angela Merkel called "our Mother Earth", standing firmly against President Donald Trump's decision to take the United States out of the Paris climate change pact, Reuters reports.
Trump's move was "a big mistake", said Donald Tusk, one of the European Union's top officials.
Other countries, including India, signaled their commitment to the accord. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that while the United States should have remained in the 2015 deal, he would not judge Trump.
Trump announced the withdrawal on Thursday, tapping into his "America First" campaign theme. He said participating in the pact would undermine the U.S. economy, wipe out jobs, weaken national sovereignty and put his country at a permanent disadvantage.
Members of his administration, including Vice President Mike Pence and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, said on Friday that the Paris deal put an extraordinary burden on the United States.
"It was a transfer of wealth from the most powerful economy in the world to other countries around the planet", Pence said on television.
There was a mix of dismay and anger across the world.
France said it would work with U.S. states and cities to keep up the fight against climate change. The governors of New York, California and Washington State have announced creation of a "climate alliance" committed to the Paris goals.
Germany's powerful car industry said Europe would need to reassess its environmental standards to remain competitive after the "regrettable" U.S. decision.
The World Meteorological Organization estimated that U.S. withdrawal from the emissions-cutting accord could add 0.3 degrees Celsius to global temperatures by the end of the century in a worst-case scenario.
Germany's Merkel, a pastor's daughter who is usually intensely private about her faith, said the accord was needed "to preserve our Creation".
"To everyone for whom the future of our planet is important, I say let's continue going down this path so we're successful for our Mother Earth", she said to applause from lawmakers.
In Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron turned Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan on its head, saying in a rare English-language statement that it was time to "make the planet great again".