WASHINGTON – The United States should stay in the Paris climate accord but renegotiate it, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Tuesday, alleging that some European countries were not doing enough to curb emissions.
A decision is expected by President Donald Trump next month on whether to stay in the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement limiting global carbon emissions, signed by 194 countries.
“I’m not going to say I’m going to go tell the president of the United States, ‘Let’s just walk away from the Paris accord,'” Perry said during the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York.
“But what I am going to say is, I think we probably need to renegotiate it,” he said.
“We need to sit down and they need to get serious about it,” he said.
Perry said the United States and China were making a real impact on reducing emissions, but questioned the actions of France and Germany.
He gave no specifics on France. Germany has made a decision to “get out of the nuclear business” and “double down — to hear them tell it — on renewables,” he said.
“But the fact is their emissions have gone up because they are using more coal, and they are using coal that is not clean technologies,” Perry added.
“My point is, don’t sign an agreement and then expect us to stay in an agreement if you are not going to really participate and be a part of it.”
During his campaign for the presidency, Trump vowed that if elected he would scrap U.S. participation in the Paris accord.
After his Nov. 8 election, however, Trump has been evasive on the subject, at one point saying he had “an open mind.”
His secretary of state, former ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson, told lawmakers at his confirmation hearing that the United States should stay in the agreement, which was reached in Paris in December 2015 after years of negotiations.
Although Trump cannot unilaterally dismantle the accord, he can initiate the process for a U.S. exit from the agreement.
The United States is the world’s biggest economy and the second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide after China, and its exit would be a major blow to global efforts to combat climate change.