MONTREAL: The White House pushed back yesterday at a European suggestion it was softening its stand on the Paris climate accord, insisting Washington will withdraw from the agreement unless it can re-enter on more favourable terms.
The remark came as environment ministers from about 30 countries gathered in Montreal seeking headway on the Paris climate accord, which US President Donald Trump withdrew from in June.
At the summit, which was attended by an American observer, the US “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”, top EU climate official Miguel Arias Canete said. He said there would be a meeting on the sidelines of next week’s UN General Assembly with US representatives “to assess what is the real US position”, noting “it’s a message which is quite different to the one we heard from President Trump in the past”. The US observer was not available for comment and the White House insisted the US would withdraw from the Paris climate accord without more favourable terms.
“There has been no change in the United States’ position on the Paris Agreement,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “As the President has made abundantly clear, the United States is withdrawing unless we can reenter on terms that are more favourable to our country.”
Called by Canada, China and the EU, the summit took place 30 years to the day after the signing of the Montreal Protocol on protecting the ozone layer — which Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna hailed as a multilateral “success story” by governments, NGOs and citizens.
“Everyone agreed that the environment and the economy go together, they are linked,’’ Ms McKenna said.
“You cannot grow the economy without taking care of the environment.
“Changes are real, extreme weather events are more frequent, more powerful and more distressful.”
Donald Trump wants better terms with the Paris agreement