White House: Trump’s views of Paris climate deal are ‘evolving’

White House: Trump’s views of Paris climate deal are ‘evolving’
© Getty

President Trump's views on the Paris climate deal “absolutely are evolving” after he heard other world leaders’ opinions on climate change during a Group of Seven (G7) meeting on Friday, the White House said.

Trump and other G7 leaders discussed the environment and Paris climate agreement for about 20 minutes during a meeting in Italy on Friday.

Gary CohnGary David CohnTrump says US will hit China with new round of tariffs next month Gary Cohn bemoans 'dramatic impact' of Trump tariffs Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank MORE, Trump's National Economic Council director, said the president “listened very acutely and attentively to the other leaders in the room” but repeated his campaign promise to focus on job creation over everything else, including climate concerns. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“I think his views are evolving,” Cohn told reporters Friday. “He came here to learn, he came here to get smarter and he came here to hear people’s views.”

Cohn added, “His basis for decision ultimately is going to be what’s best for the United States.”

Trump did not say when he would make a decision on the United States’ involvement in the Paris climate deal, an international pact designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Officials are still writing the official G7 pronouncement on climate change, and Cohn said he couldn’t preview what that might look like.

“He said, ‘This is something where I want to get to the right decision, so I’d rather take my time, I’d rather understand the issues and I’d rather get to the right decision on that,' " Cohn said of Trump. 

Cohn is one of a handful of Trump administration officials who have pushed the president to stay in the Paris agreement. 
 
Speaking with reporters on Thursday night, he criticized coal as a source of fuel that “doesn’t even make that much sense anymore as a feedstock.” 
 
“Natural gas, which we have become an abundant producer, which we’re going to become a major exporter of, is such a cleaner fuel,” he said then. 
 
“If you think about how solar and how much wind power we’ve created in the United States, we can be a manufacturing powerhouse and still be environmentally friendly.”
 
Trump has vowed to help prop up fossil fuels and the American coal, oil and natural gas sectors as president. Those goals are at odds with the Paris deal, which is designed to cut global greenhouse gas emissions as a way to stave off the worst of climate change. 

The vast majority of countries support the Paris deal and several have lobbied Trump to stay in the agreement. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that Friday’s meeting included a “very intense exchange” on climate, one where all six of the other leaders teamed up in support of the deal.

“We made it clear that we want the U.S. to stick to its commitments," Merkel said, according to Bloomberg News.

The White House has said Trump will make a decision on the Paris deal after this week’s G7 summit.