Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in his first public comments since Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, declined to specifically endorse the move but said the U.S. would continue working to reduce its emissions regardless.
“Well, it was a policy decision, and I think it’s important that everyone recognize the United States has a terrific record on reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions. It’s something I think we can be proud of and that was done in the absence of a Paris agreement,” Tillerson told reporters Friday when asked for his reaction to Trump’s announcement.
“I don’t think we’re going to change our ongoing efforts to reduce those emissions in the future either, so hopefully, people can keep it in perspective,” he added.
Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil, privately lobbied Trump to remain in the agreement, arguing a withdrawal would damage diplomatic relations with dozens of allies around the globe. But Trump ignored that advice, announcing Thursday that the U.S. will withdraw from the deal, though he said he’d be willing to negotiate a better agreement.
Tillerson did not attend Trump’s Paris announcement Thursday at the White House.