Washington, January 11
President Donald Trump on Thursday said the US could “conceivably” return to the landmark Paris climate agreement but did not indicate any move in that direction.
In June, Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change and decided to renegotiate the deal that was agreed upon by over 190 countries during the previous Obama administration.
Defending his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Trump said his primary concern with the Paris climate accord was that it treated the US unfairly and that if a better deal could be reached, Washington might be persuaded to rejoin.
“The Paris Agreement as drawn and as we signed was very unfair to the United States. It put great penalties on us. It made it very difficult for us to deal in terms of business. It took away a lot of our asset values,” Trump said.
“Frankly, it’s an agreement that I have no problem with, but I had a problem with the agreement that they signed, because, as usual, they made a bad deal,” Trump told a news conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
“So we could conceivably go back in,” Trump said, stressing his administration’s commitment to environmental issues, “clean water, clean air”, but added “we also want businesses that can compete”.
Trump justified his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate accord, saying there was a “tremendous” penalty for using the country’s rich in gas and coal and oil and that hurt American businesses.
The Paris agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise in this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The landmark agreement, which entered into force last November, calls on countries to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future, and to adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change.
The US has appeared to be so far globally isolated on this issue, but Trump strongly defended his decision.
According to some estimates, the US would have had to close businesses in order to qualify by 2025. Whereas as an example China, by 2030, they don’t kick in until 2030.
Trump insisted that his administration feels very strongly about the environment.
“I feel very strongly about the environment. Our EPA (environment protection agency) and our EPA commissioners are very, very powerful, in the sense that they want to have clean water, clean air, but we also want businesses that can compete,” he said.
“The Paris Accord really would have taken away our competitive edge, and we’re not going to let that happen. I’m not going to let that happen,” Trump asserted.