The United States “could conceivably go back in” to the Paris climate agreement, President Trump says- but it would have to be under terms that don’t punish the country for its wealth of fossil fuels.
“Frankly, it’s an agreement that I have no problem with but I had a problem with the agreement that they (the Obama administration) signed because, as usual, they made a bad deal,” he says.
“So we could conceivably go back in.
Mr Trump stressed his administration’s commitment to environmental issues, “clean water, clean air”, but adds that “we also want businesses that can compete”.
“The Paris accord really would have taken away our competitive edge, and we’re not going to let that happen,” he adds.
The agreement was signed under former President Barack Obama’s administration in December 2015 by nearly 200 countries to curb global carbon emissions and contain global warming to 2 C.
His comments came during a joint press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the White House.
Norway, rich in Arctic oil and gas reserves, was the first developed nation to ratify the global agreement to reduce carbon emissions.
The United States also joined the non-binding agreement under President Barack Obama, but Trump says last year he was withdrawing.
Trump says the issue came up in his private talks with Solberg, but “it wasn’t a major topic.”
During the press conference, Solberg impressed upon Trump the business opportunities in renewable energy.
“We have strict regulations to meet our Paris targets, which means we have very strong policies for environment-friendly and climate-friendly technologies,” she says.
Trump spoke glowingly of Norway’s renewable energy. “Norway has tremendous hydro power. Tremendous,” he said.
“I wish we’d do some of that, but hydro power is fantastic, and it’s a great asset that you have.”
But earlier, while speaking about U.S. energy dominance over Russia, he also derided his former rival, Hillary Clinton, for her energy policies.
“I am for massive oil and gas and everything else, and a lot of energy,” he said.
“Hillary, my opponent, was for windmills, and she was for other types of energy that don’t have the same capacities at this moment certainly.”
Trump Past Claim
Mr Trump has claimed in the past that the agreement would cost the US $3tn in lost GDP and 6.5 million jobs – while rival economies like China and India were treated more favourably.
When he announced last June he was pulling the US out of the accord, Mr Trump says he wanted to negotiate a new “fair” deal that would not disadvantage US businesses and workers.
He also says during the presidential election campaign that he wanted to help US oil and coal industries.
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