Conflicting statements on Trump administration’s position on Paris climate accord

The Wall Street Journal reports: Trump administration officials said Saturday the U.S. wouldn’t pull out of the Paris Agreement, offering to re-engage in the international deal to fight climate change, according to multiple officials at a global warming summit.

The U.S. position on reviewing the terms of its participation in the landmark accord came during a meeting of more than 30 ministers led by Canada, China and the European Union in Montreal. In June, President Donald Trump said the U.S. would withdraw from the deal unless it could find more favorable terms.

U.S. officials in Montreal, led by White House senior adviser Everett Eissenstat, broached revising U.S. climate-change goals, two participants said, signaling a compromise that would keep the U.S. at the table even if it meant weakening the international effort. Still, the move would maintain international unity behind the painstakingly negotiated Paris accord, after Mr. Trump suggested he might seek a new agreement.

“The U.S. has stated that they will not renegotiate the Paris accord, but they will try to review the terms on which they could be engaged under this agreement,” European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said.

In a statement Saturday afternoon, a White House spokeswoman said the administration’s position on Paris had not changed, but also noted that the president’s stance on withdrawing from the deal had never been set in stone.

“There has been no change in the U.S.’s position on the Paris agreement,” said deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters. “As the president has made abundantly clear, the U.S. is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country.”

Multiple participants at the Montreal gathering said Mr. Eissenstat’s approach, though it is likely to entail a significant reduction in the U.S.’s ambition to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, fueled optimism among proponents of the Paris deal. Since Mr. Trump’s inauguration in January, officials from China to the EU and Canada have tried to convince his administration that fighting climate change is also a boon for the economy and jobs, and not just an ideological battle.

“We are pleased the U.S. continues to engage and recognize the economic opportunity of clean growth, including clean energy,” said Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in a statement to The Wall Street Journal. [Continue reading…]

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