Rick Perry: Trump should ‘renegotiate’ Paris climate pact

Rick Perry: Trump should ‘renegotiate’ Paris climate pact
© Greg Nash

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is counseling President Trump to stay in the Paris climate change agreement but renegotiate its terms.

“I’m not going to say tell the president of the United States let's just walk away from the Paris accord,” Perry said during an onstage interview at a Bloomberg New Energy Finance event Tuesday in New York.

“But, what I’m going to say is that I think we probably should renegotiate it.”

Perry’s comments come amid a large rift in the Trump administration over whether the president should seek to pull the country out of the Paris agreement. The pact was reached in 2015 by nearly 200 countries, each agreeing to non-binding targets to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

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Perry joins Trump's son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in arguing that staying in the pact is better than abandoning it. Tillerson has said it’s better diplomatically to stay in the pact and retain a seat at the table in international climate policy.

But others, including Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt and Trump strategist Stephen Bannon, say it’s a harmful deal for the United States and Trump should get out of it.

Trump had promised on the campaign trail to “cancel” the agreement.

Those administration officials and others were due to meet at the White House last week to work toward a consensus recommendation for Trump. But the meeting was postponed.

Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaPatagonia files suit against Trump cuts to Utah monuments Former Dem Tenn. gov to launch Senate bid: report Eighth Franken accuser comes forward as Dems call for resignation MORE committed the United States to cut its emissions 26 percent to 28 percent under the deal. Some Trump allies want him to stay in the pact but reduce that commitment.

The Energy Department’s role in the Paris agreement is not direct; the State Department is the main point agency for international treaties or agreements.

But the Energy Department is the main agency for funding energy research and development. Under the Obama administration, the mission was focused squarely on making energy cleaner and less emitting, a goal that the Trump administration is de-emphasizing.

Perry said that some other countries, particularly Germany, aren’t doing enough on climate change, while expecting the United States to do more.