NEW YORK (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser said at the United Nations on Monday the United States had not changed its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate pact without a renegotiation favorable to Washington, with little appetite for such a step in the international community.
Trump in June announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, saying it would put U.S. industries at a disadvantage, cost U.S. jobs, weaken American national sovereignty and put the country at a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world.
“We made the president’s position unambiguous, to where the president stands, where the administration stands on Paris,” Cohn said after the informal breakfast meeting with ministers from about a dozen countries on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.
In a statement issued after the meeting, a White House official said: “We are withdrawing from the Paris Agreement unless we can reengage on terms more favorable to the United States. This position was made very clear during the breakfast.”
U.S. officials attended a Montreal meeting on Saturday of ministers from more than 30 of the nations that signed the climate change agreement. The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump administration officials had said Washington would not pull out of the agreement and had offered to re-engage.
“There was some confusion over the weekend and I think we removed all the confusion,” Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, told reporters, adding that he was referring to the meeting in Montreal.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday that the United States could remain in the Paris climate accord under the right conditions.
Cohn, who is overseeing the issue for Trump, on Monday declined to elaborate on suitable terms that the United States would consider to remain in the climate change pact.
“The mood was good,” Cohn said of the meeting. “Very constructive. Everyone wants to work together. Everyone wants to understand everyone’s position. I think everyone has a understanding where we all want to get to.”