Sept. 16 (UPI) — A European Union official said Saturday the United States has re-engaged the Paris climate deal, but the White House quickly responded that there has been no change in President Donald Trump‘s intention to pull the country out of the deal.
European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete told reporters the United States plans to review the deal more closely for a better understanding of the terms agreed to by former President Barack Obama in 2015.
“Now we don’t see the messages that they are withdrawing from the Paris agreement radically,” Canete told Bloomberg.
“They are willing to re-engage under the Paris agreement but they want to check some of the terms under which they agreed to participate previously. We assume that means that the U.S. will revisit at some time the targets put forward by the previous administration.”
The comments came after a 30-nation meeting in Montreal, including representatives from China and Canada, to discuss the climate accord.
The White House issued a statement denying Trump has softened or shifted his stance against the Paris climate accord — years in the making and including commitments from 190 nations — which was one of the major issues he ran on during the 2016 election.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also tweeted on Saturday evening that “our position on the Paris agreement has not changed. @POTUS has been clear, US withdrawing unless we get pro-America terms.”
Everett Eissenstat, deputy director of the National Economic Council and deputy assistant to the president for international economic affairs, said at the Montreal gathering that officials in Washington are reviewing emission-cut targets and other parts of the agreement.
The plan Eissenstat reportedly outlined at the gathering did not address details of what objectives of the accord the United States is reviewing or what standards they would adhere to though.
Trump announced in June his intention to withdraw the United States from the agreement because he believes it would be detrimental to the U.S. economy, but said at the time that his administration would “start to negotiate and see if we can make a deal that’s fair. If we can, great. If we can’t, that’s fine.”