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The Latest: EPA chief mum on Trump’s beliefs on climate

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt points as he answers questions from members of the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, June 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s announcement that he’s pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord (all times EDT):

1:45 p.m.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is dodging the question of whether the president believes climate change is real and a threat to the U.S.

Pruitt spoke at a White House briefing the day after President Donald Trump said the U.S. will abandon the Paris climate accord.

Asked about Trump’s views on climate change, Pruitt says they were focused on “one singular issue” — whether the Paris deal would be good or bad for the country.

He says Trump concluded it would put the nation at an economic disadvantage.

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12:20 p.m.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says she believes the climate is changing but is refusing to discuss the implications of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a major climate pact.

Asked during a visit to a charter school on Friday whether she believes in climate change, DeVos said, “Certainly, the climate changes, yes.”

But she wouldn’t answer a question about whether climate change was caused by human activity and its impact.

She said, “I think we are going to continue to be a part of that conversation as he is committed to doing.”

DeVos on Thursday issued a statement backing Trump’s decision as it rolls back “the unrealistic and overreaching regulatory actions” of the Obama administration.

The decision has been met with criticism from environmentalists around the world.

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12:05 a.m.

A scientist who played a key role in international talks leading to the Paris accord says that pulling out the agreement will prove a significant loss to Americans who face rising sea levels, crop pests and more frequent heat waves.

Environmental scientist Joseph Alcamo, who directs a University of Sussex program, says that leaving the accord has to be “one of the most foolish and short-sighted decisions in American history.”

He says “Trump may be able to withdraw from the agreement, but he can’t withdraw from the atmosphere.”

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11:55 a.m.

India’s prime minister says “Paris or no Paris” his country will be a responsible nation with regard to climate.

Modi declined to give a direct reply on whether India, a major emerging economy, would stick with the Paris Climate agreement following President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the accord. He was addressing the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday during his official visit to Russia.

Modi said he was asked a similar question during his visit to Germany earlier this week, before the US decision was announced.

At the time, Modi said, he had replied “Paris or no Paris, it is our conviction that we have no right to snatch from our future generation their right to have a clean and beautiful earth.” His remarks were reported by the Press Trust of India news agency.

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10:55 a.m.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he believes the United States will keep reducing greenhouse gas emissions despite pulling out of the Paris climate change pact.

It’s the first public comment on the decision from Tillerson, who had urged President Donald Trump not to abandon the deal.

Tillerson is downplaying the significance of Trump’s decision to withdraw from the global agreement. He says it was a “policy decision” and that he hopes “people can keep it in perspective.”

Tillerson says the U.S. has “a terrific record” in curbing greenhouse gas emissions. He says it’s something the U.S. can be proud of. Tillerson points out those reductions took place even before the Paris agreement went into effect.

Tillerson spoke as he met Friday with Brazil’s foreign minister.

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10:20 a.m.

A top European Union official says the EU and China believe that President Donald Trump made a mistake by pulling the United States out of a landmark international climate agreement.

Standing alongside Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, EU Council President Donald Tusk said Friday that “We are convinced that yesterday’s decision by the United States to leave the Paris agreement is a big mistake.”

Brussels and Beijing are reaffirming their commitment to the agreement and laying out steps for achieving some of its goals.

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10 a.m.

The U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate deal is being met with despair in parts of Africa that are suffering from severe drought.

Sididi Ould Batna in Mali says he has lost a dozen of his cattle and now the food crisis is affecting families as well.

He says he would tell President Donald Trump that the misery is caused by climate change, “and if he doesn’t pay attention the United States will be touched one day by these problems, too.”

Vegetable seller Fanta Coulibaly in Mali’s capital, Bamako, blames climate change for the lack of rain.

She says the Paris agreement has given her hope, “and I ask Trump to think of us.”

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9:45 a.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to assuage concerns caused by President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord, calling for a constructive dialogue on efforts needed to curb global warming.

Speaking Friday at an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Putin avoided criticizing Trump for the move that has caused international opprobrium.

He underlined the importance of the Paris climate accord, but noted that it’s a framework agreement offering a broad room for maneuver for each signatory nation.

Putin also said that Trump’s promise to negotiate new conditions for the U.S. leaves hope for reaching a compromise before the Paris deal is set to take effect in 2021. Putin added that U.S. participation is essential for the success of global efforts.

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8:45 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the climate change pact is “refreshing.”

In an interview with Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” Pence says the climate deal would have burdened taxpayers and he doesn’t understand why Democrats have made the issue a priority.

Pence says the Paris deal “was a transfer of wealth from the most powerful economy in the world to other countries around the planet.”

Democrats say jobs lost at polluting companies could be offset by new jobs in green technology. Scientists contend that Trump’s decision could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide a year — enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

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8:10 a.m.

African nations are protesting the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement as the world’s poorest continent seeks financial help in combating global warming.

South Africa’s government calls the U.S. pullout “an abdication of global responsibility.”

The statement Friday by one of Africa’s largest economies says the decision damages the rule of law and “trust between nations.”

South Africa says the U.S. has a “moral obligation” to support poorer countries in the global effort against climate change.

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8:05 a.m.

India has kept mum on whether the U.S. decision to pull out of the Paris climate treaty will affect its energy policy, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered no reaction to Trump’s decision.

But on Thursday while visiting Moscow, Modi signed a joint declaration with President Vladimir Putin committing India and Russia to working on global challenges like climate change, environmental protection and clean energy through scientific discoveries.

And earlier in the week in Berlin, Modi said it would be a “crime” to spoil the environment for future generations.

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8:05 a.m.

British opposition politicians are accusing Prime Minister Theresa May of failing to stand up to the U.S. over its withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

May’s office says she spoke to President Donald Trump after his announcement and “expressed her disappointment with the decision.” Downing Street says May “stressed that the U.K. remained committed to the Paris Agreement.”

But Britain did not sign a joint statement by the leaders of Germany, France and Italy saying they regretted Trump’s decision and stressing that the accord cannot be renegotiated.

Downing Street would not say whether May had been asked to sign it.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn accuses May of “subservience to Donald Trump.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says not signing the declaration was an “appalling abdication of leadership.”

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8:05 a.m.

The Paris mayor says she’s finally found one person who doesn’t like her famed city: Donald Trump.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo responded to the U.S. president’s comments that he’s pulling out of the Paris climate agreement because he was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris.

Speaking to reporters Friday, she said, “He doesn’t like Paris. He must be the only person on the planet who doesn’t like Paris.”

In seriousness, she added that his comments were “not up to the level of what one would expect from a president of a great nation that we love.”

She insists that fighting climate change can create jobs, and calls Trump “a representative of a world gone by, a world that is looking back in the rear view mirror and does not see what is happening today.”

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8:05 a.m.

Germany’s environment minister says “there will be no new deal with the United States” on climate change.

Barbara Hendricks reiterated the position Germany, France and Italy declared in a statement Thursday after President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

Hendricks told reporters Friday in Berlin that other countries will fill the leadership void left by the United States but none will be expected to make up the shortfall in emissions reductions caused by Washington’s exit.

She adds that the global climate will “survive” Trump’s maximum presidential term of eight years.

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7:40 a.m.

Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway says the decision by the Trump administration to get out of the Paris climate change accords is about “fairness” to American workers and businesses.

Asked in a nationally broadcast interview whether President Donald Trump believes in the concept of global warming, Conway demurred, telling her interviewer to ask him.

“The president believes in a clean environment,” she said in an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” Friday.

“Why should we frontload so much of the economic burden in this agreement?” Conway said.

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7:30 a.m.

A Japanese government official says Japan has decided not to join Germany, France and Italy in expressing regret over the decision by President Donald Trump’s to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

The official, who declined to be identified by name or affiliation and requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the decision, said that Japan chose to issue its own statement, not as part of the group. He declined to give a reason or confirm if any of the three countries had invited Japan to sign a joint statement.

The prime minister’s office said Japan shares the importance of the accord with those countries.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry in a statement earlier Friday said the U.S. withdrawal decision was “regrettable” but hoped to explore ways to cooperate with Washington to address the climate change issues.

–By Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo.

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7 a.m.

A top atmospheric scientist at the U.N.’s weather agency says the “worst-case scenario” caused by the planned U.S. pullout from the Paris climate deal would be a further 0.3-degree Celsius (0.5 Fahrenheit) rise in global temperatures by 2100.

Deon Terblanche of the World Meteorological Organization says many factors affect temperatures, so an additional 0.3-percent increase from the possible U.S. pullout is “probably not what will happen.”

He said Friday that the organization hasn’t run any new scientific models following U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement that U.S. would pull out of the Paris accord.

The 2015 Paris agreement aims to prevent the Earth from heating up by any more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, compared to before the start of the industrial age.

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6:50 a.m.

U.S. taxpayers aren’t the only ones pitching in to a global fund to help poor countries cope with rising seas and fight climate change.

President Donald Trump wants to stop contributing to the U.N.-managed Green Climate Fund, claiming that “nobody else is even close” to the $1 billion the U.S. has paid so far.

Yet other governments with smaller economies than the U.S. have invested significant amounts too.

The fund now has $694 million from Japan, $515 million from Britain, $460 million from Sweden and $420 million from Germany, in addition to contributions from dozens of other countries.

And per capita, some countries are promising much more than the U.S.

The U.S. pledges so far — including the $1 billion already paid and $2 billion promised by the Obama administration — add up to $9 per American, compared to $60 pledged from every Swede and $50 pledged from each Norwegian.

That’s according to figures from the Seoul-based fund, meant to channel money to help poor countries fight and handle climate change.

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6:30 a.m.

A former U.N. special envoy on climate change says the U.S. decision to pull out of the Paris climate deal renders the country “a rogue state on the international stage.”

Mary Robinson spoke as part of a group of global leaders known as The Elders.

In their statement released Friday, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan calls climate change “the great existentialist threat of our time” and that the U.S. withdrawal weakens the Paris accord.

However, he said it does not “trigger its demise.”

In the statement, The Elders also call on U.S. states and businesses to take action where the federal government has withdrawn. They also say the U.S. pullout weakens developing nations’ trust in developed countries over who will fund the billions of dollars needed to combat climate change worldwide.

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6:15 a.m.

The price of oil has fallen sharply as investors bet that President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement will increase the country’s oil and gas production.

The international benchmark for crude oil was down 3 percent, or $1.49 a barrel, at $49.14 on Friday.

Analysts at German bank Commerzbank said in light of Trump’s decision that it now expects the U.S. to expand its oil production “even more sharply.” U.S. oil production has been increasing in recent months since the price of crude came off lows last year.

The increase in U.S. production is neutralizing the efforts of the OPEC cartel and other major oil-producing nations, like Russia, which are limiting their output in the hope of supporting prices.

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5:55 a.m.

Dozens of Greenpeace supporters gathered at the gates of the United States embassy in the Spanish capital to protest President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement.

Protesters said that Trump was becoming a “global threat” and “harming the planet” in signs they held Friday morning at the entrance of the embassy in central Madrid.

Greenpeace’s director in Spain Mario Rodriguez said Thursday’s announcement will require U.S. civil society and companies — as well as the rest of the world — to work harder to fight global warming.

“The battle against climate change is irreversible,” Rodriguez said. “Resistance will be maintained because the United States is much more than just the White House and Trump.”

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5:30 a.m.

U.N. Environment chief Erik Solheim says the decision by President Donald Trump to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord “in no way brings an end to this unstoppable effort.”

China, India, the European Union and others are already showing strong leadership, he added.

“A single political decision will not derail this unparalleled effort,” Solheim said in a statement.

In a separate joint statement, the African Union and the European Union reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris accord and noted the “strong solidarity with those most vulnerable to climate change.”

A number of African countries have expressed alarm at rising sea levels and changing weather patterns that have the potential to further disrupt the agriculture that so many on the world’s poorest continent rely on to survive.

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5:25 a.m.

The leader of the country to next hold the rotating presidency of the European Union says the “very bad, very negative” decision of President Donald Trump to pull the United States out of the global climate agreement will force the 28-nation bloc to take a stronger lead on the issue.

Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said in an interview with The Associated Press that the Paris accord “was, and still is a very important goal to achieve.”

He stressed all EU nations are sticking together to make the deal work and expressed his doubts that any country around the world would follow Trump’s lead. “I hope that the number is zero,” Ratas said.

Estonia will take over the rotating six-month presidency from Malta at the end of the month.

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5:05 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord “can’t and won’t stop all those of us who feel obliged to protect the planet.”

Merkel said Friday that the announcement by Trump was “extremely regrettable and that’s putting it very mildly.”

But she told reporters in a brief statement that “it’s now necessary to look forward after last night’s announcement by the U.S. administration.”

Merkel says Germany and others “will combine our forces more resolutely than ever … to address and tackle big challenges for humanity such as climate change.”

She adds that “we need this Paris agreement to preserve creation. Nothing can and will stop us from doing so.”

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3:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump says the U.S. could try to re-enter the international climate agreement sealed in Paris if the deal were more favorable to Americans.

Trump indicated that wasn’t a priority as he explained why he was pulling the U.S. out of the Paris accord in the first place. In a Rose Garden announcement Thursday, the president framed the decision as one made in the best interest of his country.

Many U.S. allies are expressing alarm over the U.S. abandoning the chief effort to slow the planet’s warming. The leaders of France, Germany and Italy joined to “note with regret” the Trump decision and express doubts about any change in the accord.

Several of Trump’s top aides also opposed the action, including his daughter Ivanka Trump.

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