Trump slams ‘totally disastrous’ Paris pact, touts coal

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, February 26, 2018

In a freewheeling campaign-style speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference today, President Trump slammed the 2015 Paris climate deal and touted efforts to find buyers for American coal.

Lampooning the accord as a “totally disastrous, job-killing, wealth-knocking-out” deal, Trump said other countries wanted to block U.S. use of domestic coal, oil and gas. Trump announced plans to withdraw from the agreement last summer.

“We knocked out the Paris climate accord,” Trump said to cheers and chants of “USA, USA!” at National Harbor along the Potomac River in Oxon Hill, Md. “Would have been a disaster.”

Trump also poked at China, saying its compliance with the climate pact would not have kicked in until 2030, while the United States was required to act immediately.

Russia, he said, would have able to go “back into the 1990s, which was not a clean environmental time,” while the United States would have been forced to pay for “growing” nations.

“I said, ‘What are we? Are we allowed to grow, too?'” Trump said. “They called India a developing nation, they called China a developing nation, but the United States, we’re developed, we can pay.”

Trump’s focus on the climate accord comes in the wake of the resignation last week of a top White House energy adviser, George David Banks, who failed to obtain a permanent security clearance over his admitted use of marijuana in 2013.

Banks told E&E News last week it could be advantageous for the president to return to the Paris deal in 2020 (Climatewire, Feb. 20).

But which changes or concessions would bring the Trump administration back to the table on climate — issues the president didn’t address today — remain elusive.

And Trump made clear he views domestic coal and natural gas as critical to addressing what he called “massive” trade deficits with Vietnam, China and other countries.

The president last year forged a deal with China’s government that set the stage for expanding U.S. shipments of liquefied natural gas and today recalled how he urged Vietnam’s president and prime minister during his November trip to Asia last fall to buy more U.S. coal.

“I said, ‘We have too big of a deficit with Vietnam; I’m not happy,” Trump said. “I said, ‘Buy coal, buy coal.’ They use a lot of coal.”