exp Trump Exits Paris Climate Accord_00002001.jpg
exp Trump Exits Paris Climate Accord_00002001.jpg
Now playing
05:44
Trump exits Paris climate accord
CNN
Now playing
03:11
Trump withdraws US from Paris climate accord
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to announce his decision regarding the United States' participation in the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House June 1, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to announce his decision regarding the United States' participation in the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House June 1, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
02:57
Fact-checking Trump's Paris accord speech
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01:  U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to announce his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House June 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump pledged on the campaign trail to withdraw from the accord, which former President Barack Obama and the leaders of 194 other countries signed in 2015. The agreement is intended to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit global warming to a manageable level.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to announce his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House June 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump pledged on the campaign trail to withdraw from the accord, which former President Barack Obama and the leaders of 194 other countries signed in 2015. The agreement is intended to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit global warming to a manageable level. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Now playing
04:20
WH feels the heat over Comey, Paris accord exit
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01:  U.S. President Donald Trump announces his decision for the United States to pull out of the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House June 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump pledged on the campaign trail to withdraw from the accord, which former President Barack Obama and the leaders of 194 other countries signed in 2015. The agreement is intended to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit global warming to a manageable level.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: U.S. President Donald Trump announces his decision for the United States to pull out of the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House June 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump pledged on the campaign trail to withdraw from the accord, which former President Barack Obama and the leaders of 194 other countries signed in 2015. The agreement is intended to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit global warming to a manageable level. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:36
Trump left, and this is what the world said
Now playing
10:08
Bloomberg: Trump 'misinformed' on climate
Now playing
02:03
Kerry: Does Trump think world leaders are 'stupid?'
US President Donald Trump departs after he announced his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Accords in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on June 1, 2017.     
"As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country," Trump said. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump departs after he announced his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Accords in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on June 1, 2017. "As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country," Trump said. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:43
CEOs to Trump: You're wrong on climate change
Now playing
01:39
Cuomo, Rep. Collins spar over global warming
Now playing
01:25
Fareed: No constraints means dirty energy
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 31: U.S. President Donald Trump makes an announcement during a meeting with the National Association of Manufacturers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House March 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump signed two executive orders today that aim to boost U.S. manufacturing by addressing foreign trade. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 31: U.S. President Donald Trump makes an announcement during a meeting with the National Association of Manufacturers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House March 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump signed two executive orders today that aim to boost U.S. manufacturing by addressing foreign trade. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:08
What happens if U.S. pulls out of Paris climate accord?

Story highlights

Tillerson said he doesn't see the US reversing course on emissions reductions in the future

US allies have largely panned the Trump administration's decision to leave the deal

Washington CNN —  

The State Department is declining to say why Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did not attend President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was pulling the US out of the Paris climate agreement.

A senior State Department official told CNN Thursday Tillerson wasn’t planning on attending because he had other business at the State Department to attend to, but declined to elaborate.

Tillerson did not have any specific meeting listed in his public schedule at the time of the speech. His public schedule just said he was spending the day holding meetings and briefings at the State Department.

Despite his notable absence, the State Department would not officially confirm he was not in attendance, referring all questions to the White House.

CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.

The former CEO of ExxonMobil had advised the President not to abandon the accord, which sets voluntary carbon emissions reduction targets.

On Friday, in his first public remarks since the announcement, Tillerson shrugged off the significance of Trump’s decision, emphasizing the United States’ “terrific record” on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and saying he hopes people can “keep (the decision) in perspective.”

“Well, it was a policy decision,” Tillerson told reporters at the State Department. “And I think it’s important that everyone recognize the United States has a terrific record on reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions.”

“I don’t think we’re going to change our ongoing efforts to reduce those emissions in the future,” he added. “So hopefully, people can keep it in perspective.”

In his confirmation hearing in January, Tillerson said he thought it was “important that the United States maintain its seat at the table” on the issue of climate change, adding, “No one country is going to solve this alone.”

US allies have publicly criticized the Trump administration’s decision to leave the deal, which was signed by the Obama administration and took effect in November.

Only two other countries had previously rejected the accord: Nicaragua – which felt the deal did not go far enough in cutting emissions – and Syria.

Tillerson heads to Australia and New Zealand this weekend, where the President’s decision is sure to be raised by his foreign counterparts.

Australia’s Prime Minister told reporters earlier on Friday that Trump’s decision to leave the Paris agreement – and earlier decision to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement – has led some to “herald a US withdrawal from global leadership,” though he added that “we should take care not to rush to interpret an intent to engage on different terms as one not to engage at all.”

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that Tillerson did not attend the speech.

CNN’s Elise Labott contributed to this report.