By Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Josh Wingrove, Bloomberg
President Donald Trump said he was not willing to sacrifice the abundant fossil energy wealth of the U.S. on “dreams” such as renewable power.
“We’re the No. 1 energy producer in the world,” Trump said Monday in France. “I’m not going to lose that wealth on dreams, on windmills, which, frankly are not working all that well.”
Trump made the comments when asked about climate change at the end of a summit of Group of Seven leaders in Biarritz, France, and as fires devastating the Amazon rainforest draw renewed attention to the issue.
Trump addressed the issue of climate change by citing surging exports of both crude oil and natural gas — a frequent refrain for the president, who has celebrated what he calls American “energy dominance.” He also has frequently disparaged wind power, previously suggesting that turbines drive down real estate values, kill birds and, without citing evidence, cause cancer.
Energy development has enriched the U.S., Trump said.
“We have to maintain this incredible place that we’ve all built,” Trump said Monday. “We’ve become a much richer country, and that’s a good thing, not a bad thing, because that great wealth allows us to take care of people.”
He ignored a shouted question about whether he believes in climate change.
However, under Trump, the U.S. has balked at sending climate aid to other nations, as part of the Paris agreement, a global pact inked in 2015 to slash greenhouse gas emissions that drive the phenomenon. Trump announced during his first year in office that the U.S. would abandon the accord, negotiated during the administration of Barack Obama.
Climate issues have come into sharper focus as fires burn across the Amazon, the world’s biggest rainforest, a cradle of biodiversity that is responsible for generating roughly a fifth of the world’s oxygen and absorbing some of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. The fires themselves are unleashing greenhouse gases trapped in its trees and hastening the deforestation of the Amazon, which acts a vital buffer against climate change.
At the G-7 summit, French President Emmanuel Macron had sought to use the Amazon emergency to shift attention to the environment and try to slow deforestation in Brazil. Trump did not personally attend a G-7 session on climate change Monday morning though White House officials were reported to be in the event. According to reports, Macron urged journalists not to read too much into Trump’s absence, said to be the result of a scheduling conflict.