The open call for the exit of United States from the Paris climate deal by none other than the head of the Environmental Protection Agency has shocked environmentalists.
This is the first time a high-ranking Trump administration official such as EPA Chief Scott Pruitt has gone public with a call to scrap the historic agreement, which has been endorsed by more than 200 countries.
Paris deal aims to mitigate climate change by curbing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses with a concrete roadmap.
The climate deal envisages limiting global warming below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and then further curbing that increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Speaking at the Fox & Friends, Scott Pruitt made a scathing attack on the Paris climate deal and said the commitments loaded on the United States have been disproportionate compared to other polluters such as China, Europe, and India.
"Paris is something that we need to really look at closely. It's something we need to exit in my opinion," the EPA chief said.
Costs Front-Loaded On America
Calling Paris pact a "bad deal for America" Pruitt portrayed it as injurious to the U.S. interests.
"China and India had no obligations under the agreement until 2030. We front-loaded all of our costs," the EPA chief lamented.
The Paris deal mandates the United States to achieve emission reduction by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. Pruitt's defiance against the climate deal was evident when he said Clean Power Plan pushed by the Obama administration will be withdrawn. It was a flagship program of the previous regime in meeting the U.S. commitments on Paris agreement.
Pruitt made it clear that there is no question of risking the U.S. jobs in the name of complying with the Paris agreement.
US Claims And Facts On Emissions Data
Pruitt criticized the Paris Agreement for making the U.S. economy shrink to "serve and satisfy" Europe, China, and India, which, according to the EPA boss, are bigger polluters than the United States.
"We're at pre-1994 levels with respect to our CO2 emissions," the EPA boss claimed.
However, the tracking data released by the World Resources Institute speaks otherwise. It said in 2015 the per capita carbon dioxide emissions in the United States have been twice the volume of China. Compared to India, the U.S. per capita emissions were was more than eight times.
More Deregulation And Job Creation In Fossil Fuels
However, exiting the Paris agreement will not be easy, even if the Trump administration decides to push the case. The agreement withdrawal will be possible only after three years, and there will be a one-year waiting period.
In addition to the rollback plan of Clean Energy Act, Pruitt also announced some environmental deregulation measures.
According to Pruitt, the EPA will pursue a new "back to basics" agenda with oversight of clean air and water handed over to individual states and strengthen job creation in fossil fuel industries.
Controversial Comments On Carbon Dioxide
For Pruitt, controversy has been a companion in emission-related issues.
In early March, Pruitt triggered a hornet's nest while speaking on CNBC's morning news that he does not believe carbon dioxide is the main polluter in climate change.
"I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do, and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see," the EPA chief said.
The comments attracted angry outbursts, and the flood of phone calls forced EPA to set up an impromptu call center to handle the protesters.
The critics slammed Pruitt for taking a stand that is unbecoming of the stature as the chief of the environmental agency and rebutting reliable scientific evidence.