(Repeats for wider distribution)
By Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON, April 2 The United States should
continue to be "engaged" in international climate change
discussions but the Paris climate change agreement is a "bad
deal" for the country, the head of the Environmental Protection
Agency said Sunday.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt did not confirm whether the
United States would remain in the global climate change pact,
under which nearly all countries agreed in 2015 to halt or curb
their greenhouse gas emissions, even as the world's biggest
emitter China reaffirmed its commitment to the agreement.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is due to have his first
meeting with President Donald Trump on April 6-7. Xi and other
Chinese officials have pledged to remain in the agreement.
"To demonstrate the leadership that we have shown on this
issue with China and India and other nations is very important
and discussions should ensue," Pruitt said on Fox News Sunday,
"but what Paris represents is a bad deal for this country."
Last week, Trump signed an executive order rolling back
former President Barack Obama's climate change policies,
including the Clean Power Plan to slash carbon emissions from
power plants -- a key factor in the United States' ability to
meet its Paris commitments.
The executive order did not address the question of whether
the United States would remain in the agreement but White House
spokesman Sean Spicer said last week a decision would be made
before the G7 summit in June.
Sources told Reuters that White House officials are getting
feedback from fossil fuel companies about the pros and cons of
staying in the agreement.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said last week
all countries should "move with the times and "fulfill their
promises and earnestly take proactive steps to jointly push the
enforcement of this agreement."
Pruitt said China and India signed onto the agreement
without being required to reduce emissions. Under the agreement
each country has submitted a national strategy to meet its own
emission reduction goals.
Asked on Sunday to clarify a statement he made last month
that carbon dioxide -- emitted from fossil fuel power plants --
is not a primary contributor to climate change, Pruitt said
"human activities contribute to that change in some measure."
"The real question is how much are we contributing to that
and measuring that with precision," he said.
(Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Andrea Ricci)