Trump says he might rethink withdrawal from climate pact

Source: Arianna Skibell, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, July 14, 2017

President Trump today signaled he might be open to changing his mind about the Paris climate deal.

Trump announced last month that the United States would leave the landmark climate pact in order to protect the U.S. economy from emissions restrictions, sending shock waves throughout international diplomatic circles. But he could be reconsidering.

“Something could happen with respect to the Paris accord,” Trump said at a joint news conference today in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.

“We’ll see what happens. We’ll talk about that over the coming period of time; if it happens, that will be wonderful, and if it doesn’t, that will be OK, too,” he said.

Macron said he will help the United Stateson its “road map” and continue to talk about climate. He sidestepped giving a definitive answer over his and Trump’s disagreements surrounding climate change.

“Regarding climate, we have a number of disagreements due to the commitments taken by President Trump during the campaign; so did I. I’m aware of the high importance of that, and we’ve talked about our disagreements,” Macron said.

When the two world leaders first met in May, Macron was accused of asserting himself over Trump by crunching the American president’s hand in a shake. The French president also criticized Trump for leaving the Paris accord.

But the tone has now shifted greatly, as Macron attempts to establish a closer relationship. Trump arrived in the City of Light this morning and was greeted by a lavish military fanfare and a tour of Napoleon’s tomb.

Macron and Trump are scheduled to attend the Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Élysées tomorrow morning ahead of Trump’s return to Washington — but not before sharing a “between friends” dinner this evening at the Eiffel Tower.

“That will be something special,” Trump said of the dinner.

Meanwhile, the 10 Democratic senators who represented the United States when 195 countries signed the Paris accord sent Trump a letter today urging him to reconsider his decision to withdraw.

“As you prepare to celebrate Bastille Day and the United States World War I Centennial with President Emmanuel Macron, we write to remind you of how significant the Paris Climate Agreement is to our country and the world and to urge you to strongly reconsider and reverse your decision to withdraw from the accord,” the senators, led by Foreign Relations ranking member Ben Cardin (D-Md.), wrote to the president.

Joining Cardin on the letter were Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Al Franken of Minnesota, Chris Coons of Delaware, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

“As Senators who have invested considerable time and energy to advancing U.S. action on climate change, we respectfully disagree with your decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement,” they wrote.

The senators noted that reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions is critical for maintaining credibility on climate leadership in the international community. They urged the president to prioritize federal tax incentives for renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean transportation technologies.