Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday attempted to put out the fires set when the U.S. withdrew from the Paris Agreement, saying it was a “policy decision” that would not change “ongoing efforts” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“I don’t think we are going to change our ongoing efforts to reduce those emissions in the future either, so, hopefully people can keep that in perspective,” said Tillerson, who was making his public remarks since President Trump’s Thursday statement officially pulling the U.S. out of the global agreement.
He also touted U.S. efforts to combat climate change and said many of those gains were made outside of the Paris agreement.
“I think it’s important that everyone recognizes the United States has a terrific record on reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions,. It’s something I think we can be proud of and that was done in absence of a Paris agreement,” the former CEO of Exxon Mobil said after meeting with Brazil’s foreign minister at the State Department.
In an administration divided over to remain in the accords, Tillerson was one of several officials pushing to stay in for the purpose of maintaining U.S. diplomatic power.
During his Senate confirmation hearings, he said it was “important that the U.S. maintains its seat at the table about how to address the threat of climate change, which does require a global response.”
In New York, it was Tillerson's role at Exxon Mobil that was the focus of charges by New York's top proesecutor that the company misled investors by using "secret, internal figures" in its cost analysis of environmental regulations that were lower than numbers publicly disclosed to investors.
In a Friday court filing, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office claimed internal Exxon documents show "former Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson was specifically informed of, and approved of, this inconsistency."
The company blasted Schneiderman for "inaccurate and irresponsible allegations."