The White House on Sunday insisted that the US will withdraw from the Paris climate accord unless it can re-enter on more favourable terms, denying reports that Washington was softening its stance on the landmark agreement.
The statement by the White House comes amid reports that the Trump administration would announce at the Montreal talks that it would not pull out of the Paris accord and was offering to re-engage with the deal.
“There has been no change in the United States’ position on the Paris agreement,” White House spokesperson 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 favourable to our country,” she said in a statement.
Ministers from 34 economies are meeting in Montreal to head off potential efforts by the US to weaken the accord at the November UN climate summit in Bonn, Germany.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in an interview on CBS’s ‘Face The Nation’ suggested that President Trump would be open to remaining in the Paris climate deal under the right conditions.
“I think if you recall, the president also said, look, we are willing to work with partners in the Paris climate accord,” Tillerson said.
“If we can construct a set of terms that we believe is fair and balanced for the American people and recognizes our economy, our economic interests, relative to others, in particular, the second-largest economy in the world, China.”
Tillerson said the plan is to consider other ways the US can work with partners in the Paris climate agreement.
“We want to be productive, we want to be helpful. I think under the right conditions, the president said he is open to finding those conditions where we can remain engaged with others on what we all agree is still a challenging issue,” Tillerson said when asked if there are chances when America can remain in the deal.
Tillerson on Sunday headed to New York to attend the annual General Assembly session of the United Nations during which he would hold a series of bilateral and multilateral meetings with world leaders.
He is also expected to meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Early this year, President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change and renegotiate the deal that was agreed upon by over 190 countries during the previous Obama administration.
Arguing that countries like China and India are benefiting the most from the Paris Agreement, Trump had said that the agreement on climate change was unfair to the US, as it badly hit its businesses and jobs.
The Paris agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise in this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The landmark agreement, which entered into force last November, calls on countries to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future, and to adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change.