New York: US President Donald Trump has said countries like China, India and Russia are doing "absolutely nothing" to clean up their smokestacks and industrial plants and the garbage that they drop in sea floats into Los Angeles.
Terming climate change as a "very complex issue", Trump said he considers himself to be, in many ways, an environmentalist, believe it or not".
"So I'm very much into climate. But I want the cleanest air on the planet and I want to have, I have to have, clean air and water,” Trump said in remarks at the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday.
Trump told the audience that the US withdrew from the “one-sided, horrible, horrible, economically unfair” Paris Climate Accord that killed American jobs and shielded foreign polluters. He said the Paris Climate Agreement was a "disaster" for the US, adding that the deal would have resulted in trillions and trillions of dollars of destruction to America.
"And it is so unfair. It doesn't kick in for China until 2030. Russia goes back into the 1990s, where the base year was the dirtiest year ever in the world. India, we are supposed to pay them money because they are a developing nation. I said, 'We're a developing nation, too',” Trump said amidst laughter from the audience.
Responding to a question on how he thinks about risk as it relates to trade policy and issues like climate change, Trump said, "When people ask the question about climate, I always say: You know, I have a little problem.
"We have a relatively small piece of land — the United States. And you compare that to some of the other countries like China, like India, like Russia, like many other countries that are doing absolutely nothing to clean up their smokestacks and clean up all of their plants and all of the garbage that they're dropping in sea and that floats into Los Angeles, along with other problems that Los Angeles has, by the way.
"But when you see this happening, it's that nobody wants to talk about it. They want to talk about our country. We have to do this. We have can't have planes any longer. We can't have cows any longer. We can't have anything. I said, ‘What about China?’.”
He said he wants clean air and crystal-clean, clear water and the US today “has the cleanest air we've ever had in our country”.
The US last week formally notified the United Nations of its withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Climate accord, a landmark global agreement which brought together 188 nations, including India, to combat global warming.
The Paris Agreement, in which Trump's predecessor Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi played instrumental roles, was adopted at the UN climate conference "COP 21" held in the French capital in 2015 with an aim to reduce the hazardous greenhouse gas emissions.
Although Trump had announced his decision to withdraw from the historic agreement on June 1, 2017, the process began on November 4 with the formal notification and the US will be out of the pact on November 4, 2020.