President Donald Trump still plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement unless there are major changes made to the carbon emissions pact, the White House said Saturday.
The statement came after a European diplomat told reporters that a Trump administration envoy appeared to signal a softening stance during a meeting of climate ministers in Montreal, Canada.
A major point of contention between the United States and its global allies, the Paris climate accord issue reappeared just as Trump was set to make his major diplomatic debut at the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York next week.
If the administration were to reverse itself on dropping out of the accord, it would be a stark retreat on the issue for Trump and a complete break from his campaign promise to “cancel” the agreement, possibly signaling also that he’s moving closer to Democrats on some policy matters.
“There has been no change in the United States’ position on the Paris agreement,” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said. “As the President has made abundantly clear, the United States is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country.”
John Coequyt, the Sierra Club’s director of global climate policy, invoked the damage from recent back-to-back Hurricanes Harvey and Irma after the White House denied any change in its stance on the climate agreement.
“For anyone who had any hope that two historically devastating storms striking our nation would wake up the Trump Administration to the reality of the climate crisis, think again,” Coequyt said in a statement.
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SOURCE: CNN, Kevin Liptak