Vatican official: US exiting Paris deal would be ‘slap in the face’

Vatican official: US exiting Paris deal would be ‘slap in the face’
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A senior Vatican official says they would view President Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement as a “huge slap in the face.”

“If he really does [pull out], it would be a huge slap in the face for us,” Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo said Thursday, according to Reuters. “It will be a disaster for everyone.”

Sánchez Sorondo said he believes the U.S. oil lobby “maneuvered” Trump into opposing the global climate pact, which includes nearly 200 nations.

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“[Withdrawing] would not only be a disaster but completely unscientific,” added Sánchez Sorondo, who is head of the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

"Saying that we need to rely on coal and oil is like saying that the earth is not round. It is an absurdity dictated by the need to make money.”

Trump is expected to announce that the U.S. will exit the Paris accord during a 3 p.m. event in the White House Rose Garden.

Axios on Wednesday reported that Trump is finalizing a strategy with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt for exiting the landmark pact.

Pope Francis last week gave Trump a copy of his 2015 encyclical letter on the environment and climate change during their meeting at the Vatican.

Francis strongly supports the Paris climate deal, the 2015 agreement that aims to cut emissions blamed for global warming.

By exiting the agreement, Trump would be fulfilling a campaign pledge, but the move would make the U.S. a global outlier on climate policy.