Marianne Lavelle reports for Inside Climate News:
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said on Thursday that the United States should exit the Paris climate agreement. The comments are his strongest yet on a question that has divided the Donald Trump administration, even as it seeks to roll back the nation's commitment to act on climate change.
"Paris is something we need to look at closely. It's something we need to exit in my opinion," Pruitt said in an interview on the Fox & Friendsmorning news program.
"It's a bad deal for America," he said. "It's an 'America second, third or fourth' kind of approach."
The White House has said it expects to flesh out the administration's official position on Paris in a month or so.
Pruitt's statement puts him at odds with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former chief executive of ExxonMobil, who said during his confirmation hearing that it was important for the U.S. to "maintain its seat at the table."
Even some big U.S. coal companies have taken a similar position. They have argued in recent weeks that the pact offers their best chance to advocate for coal in the world's future energy mix, perhaps by promoting technology to capture emissions and store them underground.
Other Trump supporters have said that even if the U.S. stays in the Paris process, it should abandon its pledges to cut emissions, which probably cannot be met if the administration succeeds in killing Obama-era pollution control rules.
But Pruitt said the United States "frontloaded all of our costs" under the Paris accord, while "China or India had no obligations under the agreement until 2030." In fact, the Paris agreement is the first climate pact that requires emissions-cutting commitments from all of the more than 190 nations that signed it, although each commitment is different, determined by individual countries.
The treaty was not mentioned in the March 28 executive order that called for repealing the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan and took steps to roll back other U.S. climate policies.
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