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U.S. Still Out of Paris Climate Agreement, Despite Conflicting Reports

The White House has reaffirmed its position on the Paris Climate Agreement despite reports that the United States would stay.

"There has been no change in the United States' position on the Paris agreement. 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," the White House said in a statement Saturday.

A few minutes later, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders followed up with this tweet: "Our position on the Paris agreement has not changed. @POTUS has been clear, US withdrawing unless we get pro-America terms."

It was in response to reports, in the Wall Street Journal and AFP earlier in the day, that quoted a European official who had attended an environmental summit in Montreal, Canada.

According to AFP, the European Union's top climate official, Miguel Arias Canete, said, "The U.S. has 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."

That new stance was reportedly vocalized by White House senior adviser Everett Eissenstat, "participants" told the WSJ.

Eissenstat, deputy assistant to the president for international economic affairs and deputy director of the National Economic Council, "outlined a plan to reassure partners that the U.S. would be constructive" in its efforts to fight climate change, "he did not provide clarity on the new emissions-reduction objectives," the publication said, citing an unnamed official at the Montreal meeting of environmental ministers.

He went on tell the publication "there would be a meeting on the sidelines of next week's UN General Assembly with American representatives 'to assess what is the real US position,' but noted 'it's a message which is quite different to the one we heard from President Trump in the past.' "

Trump announced on June 1 the U.S. would be leaving the Paris Accord, following through on a campaign promise. In a speech delivered in the Rose Garden he said, "Compliance with the terms of the Paris Accord and the onerous energy restrictions it has placed on the United States could cost America as much as $2.7 million lost jobs by 2025."

But he added that the U.S. would begin negotiations to possibly re-enter the Paris accord or a similar pact that, he said, would result in a better deal for American workers.

Under the terms of the agreement, he wouldn't actually be able to withdraw until November 2020.

The president is preparing to give his first-ever speech to the United Nations on Monday.

NPR's Emma Bowman contributed to this report.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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