Albuquerque Journal

Has Trump softened stance on Paris accord?

Harvey, Irma spur more climate debate


WASHINGTON –– A European official said Saturday that the Trump administra­tion has softened its stance on the Paris climate agreement and may not completely withdraw from it after all.

But the White House quickly rebutted the report.

“There has been no change in the United States’ position on the Paris agreement,” said Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoma­n. “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.”

At a ministeria­l summit in Montreal, where the United States was an observer, the European Union’s top climate official said the Trump administra­tion had backed away from its announceme­nt in June that it was abandoning the 2015 agreement.

The U.S. “stated that they will not renegotiat­e the Paris accord, but they try to review the terms on which they could be engaged under this agreement,” Miguel Arias Canete said.

It was not immediatel­y clear how far that statement would go. Trump, when announcing his decision to withdraw, was adamant about the U.S. ignoring goals on limiting greenhouse-gas emissions and other elements believed to contribute to global warming.

At the time, it was seen as another abrogation of the United States’ pre-eminent role as a global leader.

But Trump argued that the deal was bad for U.S. businesses and that it made Washington foot too much of the cost.

Global warming is an issue with renewed political currency after Hurricane Harvey left epic floods in Houston and the Gulf Coast, and Hurricane Irma devastated parts of the Caribbean and left millions in Florida without power. Scientists say warmer waters may have intensifie­d the force of the storms.

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