Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator has said that the U.S. should exit the Paris Climate Agreement, a move that could cause the deal to collapse.
“Paris is something we need to look at closely. It’s something we need to exit in my opinion,” Pruitt said in an interview with Fox & Friends morning news program. “It’s a bad deal for America,” he said. “It’s an America second, third or fourth’ kind of approach.”
This is a stronger stance than anyone else in the Trump administration has taken thus far. Even Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that staying in the Paris Climate Agreement will allow the U.S. to “maintain its seat at the table” – a position shared by many coal companies who see it as an opportunity to push for the future of coal on the global stage.
However, just days previously, Pruitt too expressed this opinion: “Engagement internationally is very important,” he told Fox’s Chris Wallace. “To demonstrate the leadership that we have shown on this issue with China and India and other nations is very important. Those discussions should ensue.”
But today, Pruitt expressed the idea that cutting emissions to 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 as the U.S. is obligated to do under the Paris Agreement would hurt the United States economically while helping India and China, who do not need to start cutting emissions until 2030.
In response, Nathaniel Keohane, Nathaniel Keohane, vice president on global climate at the Environmental Defense Fund, told Inside Climate News that this move would only hurt America, economically as well as environmentally.
“Pulling out of the Paris climate accord would damage the U.S. more than it damages the Paris Agreement or climate action globally,” he said. “American leadership on climate is the key to attracting jobs and investment in the industries and sectors that will define the 21st century.”