Tillerson: 'My view didn’t change' on Paris climate agreement

Tillerson: 'My view didn’t change' on Paris climate agreement
© Greg Nash

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told senators Tuesday that he still supports the Paris climate change agreement, despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from it.

Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., was the most vocal voice in the Trump administration pushing the president to stay in the pact.

He told Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCommunity development impact remains clear with NMTC post-tax reform Dem sen: ‘Difficult to understand’ Trump’s treatment of allies Dem sen: No military option in North Korea ‘without extreme risks’ MORE (Md.), top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that he respects Trump’s decision but disagrees with it.

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“My view didn’t change,” Tillerson said at a hearing on the State Department’s budget. “My views were heard out. I respect that the president heard my views, but I respect the decision he’s taken.”

He said Trump was “quite deliberative” in his consideration of the Paris pact. The president “took some time to come to his decision, particularly waiting until he had heard from European counterparts in the G7 on it,” Tillerson said.

The State Department is the chief agency responsible for international agreements and treaties. Under former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaAnother chance to seek the return of fiscal sanity to the halls of Congress Colombia’s new leader has a tough road ahead, and Obama holdovers aren't helping An alternative to Trump's family separation policy MORE, Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryShould President Trump, like President Obama, forsake human rights in pursuit of the deal with a tyrant? GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system Democrats conflicted over how hard to hit Trump on Iran MORE was the key point person in developing the Paris pact.

But Tillerson didn’t participate in Trump’s public events surrounding his decision earlier this month to pull out of the Paris deal, including a grand White House ceremony to announce the withdrawal.

Instead, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, an outspoken opponent of the Paris agreement, took the lead among administration officials in those events.