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White House may reverse itself on withdrawing from Paris climate deal

 (AFP / Getty Images)
(AFP / Getty Images)

A European official said Saturday the Trump administration has softened its stance on the landmark Paris climate accord and may not completely withdraw after all.

If true, this would mark yet another reversal of a Trump campaign promise, one of the most controversial.

But the White House quickly attempted to rebut the report.

"There has been no change in the United States' position on the Paris agreement," said Lindsay Walters, a presidential 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 participated as an observer, the European Union's top climate official said the administration had backed away from its announcement in June that it was walking out of the historic 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' preeminent role as a global leader.

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

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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