As Trump officials plan to hold climate talks on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly next week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, in an interview with the Washington Examiner, relayed what could be the tone of those meetings.
"You know, our [carbon dioxide] footprint dropped by over 18 percent from 2000 to 2014. How? Because of government mandate? No, because of innovation called hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling," Pruitt said.
He then poked at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, suggesting she is a hypocrite for turning her back on emissions-free nuclear power while prodding the U.S. to do more to reduce greenhouse gases.
"If Chancellor Merkel ... really cares about reducing CO2 in this world, why is she going away from nuclear?" Pruitt asked. "It's so hypocritical for countries to look at the United States and say, 'You need to do more.' Really? So, we've reduced our pollutants under the Clean Air Act [criteria pollutants and CO2]."
Germany turned away from nuclear power in 2011 after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima, Japan, after a tsunami caused an international outcry against nuclear power. Germany gets 40 percent of it electricity from coal and is highly dependent on energy imports to sustain its economy, according to the nuclear industry.
Merkel has been a leading critic of the Trump administration for deciding to leave the Paris climate change agreement, which seeks to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.
"The environmental Left has truly created this mindset that somehow environmental protection is ‘do not touch.' Really? When we are called to feed the world, really? When we are called to power the world. When we do it better than anyone in the world already," Pruitt said.
Gary Cohn, President Trump's chief economic adviser, is slated to hold informal talks with climate and energy officials from nearly a dozen industrialized nations on Monday. Germany likely will be in attendance with other European powers.
The talks will coincide with the beginning of the U.N. General Assembly next week in New York, where environmentalists are coordinating week-long activities called Climate Week to bring attention to global warming.