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US should stay in Paris climate accord: energy secretary
[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 or not 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'," Mr 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.
Mr Perry offered no details about how he thought it should be renegotiated, but said the United States and China were making a real impact on reducing emissions.
He then questioned the actions of France and Germany.
He gave no specifics on France, other than to say he gave French and German ministers a look that was meant to imply, "What are you all doing?" during a G-7 meeting in Rome earlier this month.
Germany, he went on, 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, you know, not clean technologies," Mr 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."
Trump's 'open mind'
During his campaign for the US presidency, Mr Trump vowed that he would scrap US participation in the Paris accord.
After his November 8 election, however, Mr 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 a confirmation hearing that the United States should stay in the agreement, which was reached after years of negotiations.
Although Mr Trump cannot unilaterally dismantle the accord, he can initiate the process for a US 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.