Tillerson: US still will cut emissions despite Paris pullout

By JOSH LEDERMAN and MATTHEW LEE Politics Associated Press

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, arrives in the prime minister's official residence to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in Tokyo, Japan, Thursday, March 16, 2017. Tillerson called on North Korea Thursday to abandon its nuclear ... and ballistic missile programs, saying the isolated nation "need not fear" the United States. (Franck Robichon/Pool Photo via AP)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson downplayed the significance of the U.S. pullout from the Paris climate pact, arguing Friday that America still will continue taking steps to cut heat-trapping pollution.

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In his first public comments on President Donald Trump's move, Tillerson called it a policy decision by the president. Tillerson, a former Exxon Mobil CEO, had urged Trump not to abandon the deal but was ultimately overruled.

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Tillerson said people need to recognize that the U.S. has a "terrific record" of reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions, adding that it is "something I think we can be proud of."

"That was done in the absence of the Paris agreement," Tillerson said. "I don't think we're going to change our effort to reduce our emission in the future, either."

"So hopefully, people can keep it in perspective," the secretary added.

Tillerson spoke at the State Department during a photo-op with visiting Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes Ferreira.

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