Former Texas Governor and now Secretary of Energy Rick Perry was asked on Tuesday whether the United States should honor the United Nations Paris Agreement on climate change that Barack Obama signed onto as an executive agreement in 2015.
The agreement promises billions of dollars to developing nations and massive greenhouse gas reductions around the globe, including in the U.S.
“I’m not going to say to the president of the United States, ‘Let’s just walk away from the Paris accord,'” Perry said at a Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York.
“But, what I’m going to say is that I think we probably should renegotiate it,” Perry said.
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“On the campaign trail, Trump promised to remove the U.S.from the landmark Paris Agreement, which went into force on Nov. 4, 2016. The president-elect reportedly still plans on a swift withdrawal once he settles into office after Jan. 20,” Quartz reported right after President Donald Trump was elected.
“It was reckless for the Paris agreement to enter into force before the election,” a source on Trump’s transition team for international energy and climate policy told Reuters.
Perry’s remarks fit into the media narrative that some of Trump’s advisers — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump — want to stick with the agreement, while others, Steve Bannon — want to make a clean cut out of it.
And there is at least one other cabinet member, former Oklahoma Attorney General and now Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has spoken publicly against complying with the agreement.
In an interview with FOX and Friends, Pruitt said that the “Paris [agreement] is something that we need to really look at closely. It’s something we need to exit in my opinion.”
“It’s a bad deal for America,” he said. “It was an America second, third, or fourth kind of approach. China and India had no obligations under the agreement until 2030. We front-loaded all of our costs.”
Outside of the administration, others have weighed in, including H. Sterling Burnett, an environment and energy policy research fellow at the Heartland Institute who spoke with Breitbart News Daily SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on April 19:
Trump rightly said he was going to withdraw from this, but … there are two factions in the White House. There are those like Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, like Steve Bannon, his adviser, that say keep your campaign promise. Withdraw from the Paris Climate agreement. Let America grow.
But then there’s the other faction that’s led by Rex Tillerson, who has a lot of influence … as secretary of state, who said we should stay in the agreement.
It’s led by his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. … She wants to make climate change her signature issue. So he’s got powerful interests trying to keep him in the agreement, saying not [to] leave it as it is, but renegotiate it. Cut a better deal.
Problem is, there are no terms within the treaty to cut a better deal. You’re not allowed within the treaty to cut a better deal. And the worst problem is, is there’s no better deal to be had, in the sense that if you’re forcing America to cut its emissions, you’re having big government intervene in the economy.
Meanwhile, oil companies Exxon Mobil (where Tillerson most recently served as CEO) and Shell sided with Ivanka Trump, Kushner, and Tillerson, arguing that the United States should stick with the Paris agreement.
“The industry campaign to stick with the Paris accord comes amid deep divisions in the Trump administration over the carbon-cutting agreement,” Bloomberg reported on April 17.
The Obama administration called the U.S. commitment to the accord an “executive agreement,” which it said it could approve without congressional consent. In order for a legally binding international treaty to enter into force it, it must have the consent of the U.S. Senate.
The Trump administration had scheduled and then cancelled a meeting earlier this month to discuss the U.S. stance on the Paris Agreement.