US could remain in Paris climate deal, says Rex Tillerson

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday hinted the United States could remain a part of the Paris climate accord under the right conditions. “The president said he is open to finding those conditions where we can remain engaged with others on what we all agree is still a challenging issue,” he said. He made these comments during CBS’ “Face The Nation” program as reported by Reuters.

Tillerson’s remarks came hours after the United States attended a meeting of ministers from more than 30 countries that signed the deal. However, the White House immediately issued a statement on Saturday saying that the plans to withdraw from the deal were still on. “There has been no change in the United States’ position on the Paris agreement,” White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in an email. “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,” she said, according to AFP.

President Donald Trump, in June, announced that he would withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate accord, arguing that the deal would undermine the US economy and national sovereignty. “In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” he said. “We are getting out, but we will start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that is fair. If we can, that’s great. If we can’t, that’s fine.”

The Paris Climate Deal attempts to restrict the rise of global temperatures well below two degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. As a signatory of this agreement, US had pledged to reduce the greenhouse emitted in the country by 26 to 28 per cent compared to 2005 levels by the year 2025. With Trump’s refusal to join the agreement, US became the third country after Syria and Nicaragua who did not sign the deal.