Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt has conceded that global warming is underway, but said the landmark Paris climate accord devised to curb the threat is a bad deal for the US.
"There's a warming trend, the climate is changing, and human activity contributes to that change," Pruitt told "Fox News Sunday."
His comments came despite President Donald Trump repeatedly doubting humans' contribution to global warming.
"The real issue is how much we contribute to it," said the EPA chief, whose appointment was met with great worries by environmental activists and lawmakers.
Less than a month ago, Pruitt said carbon emissions were not "a primary contributor" to global warming.
“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do, and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so, no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” Pruitt said on a CNBC program.
Paris climate agreement 'bad deal for US'
On Sunday, Pruitt blasted the 2015 landmark Paris agreement signed by world countries as the global action plan “to avoid dangerous climate change.”
"What Paris represents is a bad deal for this country," Pruitt said.
He faulted it for hurting the US economy and being designed to help other countries.
"We front-loaded our cost. China and India back-loaded theirs. That caused a contraction in our economy," Pruitt said.
Pruitt, a career lawyer and politician, was one of the main opponents of former president Barack Obama’s policies to curb global warming, a phenomena Trump denies.
During his campaign, Trump insisted that climate change was a hoax “created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.”
Trump had indicated that he would pull out of the 2015 Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Pruitt, however, did not confirm whether the United States would remain in the global climate change pact or pull out.
“We have done better than anybody in the world at growing an economy and also being a good steward of our environment …We have nothing to be apologetic about,” he said.
The United States is the world's second largest polluter. Around 37 percent of domestic carbon dioxide emissions come from electricity generation.