POLITICS

EPA's Pruitt says leaving Paris Accord is about jobs, not politics

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said Sunday that President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Paris climate agreement for economic -- not political -- reasons and dismissed arguments that the president’s decision diminishes the country’s stature as a world leader.

“All the discussions we had through the last several weeks have been focused on one singular issue: Is Paris good or not for this country? It was about the merits and demerits of the deal,” Pruitt told “Fox News Sunday,” several days after Trump withdrew from the seven-nation agreement to reduce carbon emissions linked to global warming.

Pruitt said Trump made a decision based on how it would impact U.S. jobs and the environment, though Trump as repeatedly accused the Obama administration of trying to end the country’s coal industry.

“This president has said that we truly need an all-of-the-above approach,” Pruitt said. “We need coal, natural gas, hydro, renewables, nuclear as part of that mix, because it provides stability and strength to our grid and lower cost.”  

He also argued that the United States in the four years prior to the Paris accord had already reduced its carbon-dioxide “footprint” by 18 percent.

Pruitt further suggested that China and India, which a couple of weeks ago reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris deal, should “learn from us” if they also want to reduce their carbon output.

After being asked repeatedly whether the president thinks climate change is indeed a “hoax,” as he said during the 2016 presidential campaign, Pruitt said: “The president has indicated that the climate changes. It's always changing. I've indicated the same.”

On the argument that the U.S. has lost its standing by backing out of the Paris deal, Pruitt said: “We’re the United States. We don’t lose a seat at the table. We are going to remain engaged internationally. But we’re going to make sure we put interests of America first.”