Trump Can't Seem to Make Up His Mind About the Paris Climate Accord

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During a joint news conference Wednesday afternoon with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Donald Trump told reporters he could “conceivably” imagine the U.S. re-entering the Paris climate accord, the landmark 2015 pact designed to combat climate change that nearly every other country on the planet has signed.


“Frankly, it’s an agreement I have no problem with,” Trump said, according to an unofficial transcript of the statement published by climate reporter Lisa Friedman, “but I have a problem with the deal they signed because as usual they made a bad deal.” It is unclear to whom Trump refers when he says “they.”

While by no means a commitment to re-entering (or even re-negotiating) the agreement, Trump’s statement was a marked contrast from his rhetoric last June when he initially announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the accord; he has referred to it as “draconian” and argued that the agreement would cripple American businesses, particularly oil and gas companies.

Among Trump’s comments Wednesday were a string of confounding claims about the content of the Paris accord. He said, for example, that the agreement would have forced the U.S. “to close businesses in order to qualify by 2025,” and that it “put great penalties on [the U.S.].” The Paris agreement does not, in fact, impose penalties on any country, for any reason, and is completely nonbinding—a fact that has caused onlookers to criticize the plan for what appears to be a lack of material enforcement mechanisms.

Trump ended his statement by claiming that his administration is “very strong on the environment.”

Night Editor, Splinter