President Trump met with his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief ahead of his decision on whether to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate change agreement.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced the Tuesday meeting between the president and Scott Pruitt and said Paris was on the agenda.
“This is a subject that the president is spending a great deal of time on, and one that he spoke to the G7 members about during their meetings,” Spicer told reporters on Tuesday, referring to last week’s summit of the Group of Seven leaders in Sicily, where Trump faced pressure from each of the other leaders to stay in the agreement.
“Ultimately, he wants a fair deal for the American people.”
Trump announced over the weekend that he would reveal his decision on the Paris agreement this week.
Pruitt is an outspoken opponent of the agreement and wants Trump to abide by his campaign promise made just over a year ago to pull the United States out.
Pruitt has said in recent weeks that Paris is a “bad business deal” and an “America last” strategy. He said other major countries such as China and India are being held to much more lenient standards that the United States.
Later in his daily briefing, Spicer was asked whether Trump believes that human activity causes climate change.
“Honestly, I haven’t asked him. I can get back to you,” Spicer responded.
The reporter followed up, asking if Trump is still deciding on that question. “I don't know. I honestly haven’t asked him that specific question,” Spicer said.
The consensus of scientists who have studied the issue is that greenhouse gases, caused by human activity like burning fossil fuels, is far and away the primary cause of the global warming of recent decades.
Under the Paris pact, reached in 2015, nearly 200 nations agreed to nonbinding greenhouse gas emissions reductions that they each determined on their own. Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaDems punch back over GOP holdup of Biden SBA nominee Biden congratulates Trudeau for winning third term as Canadian prime minister Republicans have moral and financial reasons to oppose raising the debt ceiling MORE, a leader in negotiating the deal, promised a 26 percent to 28 percent cut from the United States.
While Trump promised to exit the agreement, he has been under pressure since the election to stay in it. The forces pushing him to stay include Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, some big businesses such as Exxon Mobil Corp., which Tillerson once helmed, and his daughter Ivanka.
Over the weekend, Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamFranken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Ohio Republican tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case Trump lawyer offered six-point plan for Pence to overturn election: book MORE (R-S.C.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden steps onto global stage with high-stakes UN speech Biden falters in pledge to strengthen US alliances 20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance MORE (R-Ariz.) added their names to the push to stay in the Paris deal.
But Axios reported that Trump has recently told people close to him that he plans to exit the deal.