In a rambling and barely coherent defence of his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, President Donald Trump has opened the door to the possibility the United States “could conceivably go back in” to the Agreement.
Speaking to a room full of reporters alongside Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump was reminded of Norway’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement — which he famously called a “bad deal for America” and led him to withdraw the United States from the Agreement back in June of 2017 — and asked “What could persuade you to remain?” (which, presumably should be “return”). His reply (which you can watch below or read here) seems to underline two important issues; Trump’s lack of understanding concerning the Paris Climate Agreement, and his apathy towards the clean energy revolution.
Maybe most baffling was this statement regarding the Paris Climate Agreement: “It treated the United States very unfairly and frankly it’s an agreement I have no problem with but I have a problem with the agreement that they signed because as usual they made a bad deal. So we could conceivably go back in.”
Trump seems to have advocated both agreement and disagreement with the Agreement within 15 words, while solidifying for all of us that he really doesn’t understand the agreement. The Agreement required countries create their own climate action plans and restrictions, and the Agreement does not actually contain any formal penalties for nations that fail to meet their own self-imposed targets. But you’d never know that if you only took Trump’s word for it.
Donald Trump also seems to believe that the United States is “very strong on the environment” and that the country’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is out to protect the environment. Of course, again, this belief is betrayed by the reality of the situation — specifically regarding the man Trump appointed to run the EPA, Scott Pruitt, who has spent most of his career attacking the EPA and attempting to restrict its imposition of regulations to protect the environment.
In the end, should we believe Donald Trump actually believes the United States “could conceivably go back” to the Paris Climate Agreement? No. His comments were delivered for the benefit of his guest — the Norwegian Prime Minister — Norway’s journalists who were in the room, and to get through to the next question.