Trump administration seeks to renegotiate Paris climate accord instead of breaking it

President Donald Trump announces his decision that the United States will withdraw from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 1, 2017.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

The White House immediately disavowed a Wall Street Journal report on Saturday that suggested the Trump administration was reversing its stated intention of abandoning the Paris climate accord.

However, top officials hinted the president would seek to renegotiate terms that were more favorable to the United States.

According to the WSJ's report, the European Union's Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete said that President Donald Trump would abide by the landmark agreement, which was struck in 2016. Unnamed officials at a global warming summit told the publication that the U.S. was seeking to re-engage the international community to renegotiate the deal, rather than abrogate it.

If true, it would represent a sharp reversal from one of Trump's signature policy pledges. In June, Trump vowed to renegotiate the deal or strike a new one.

"The U.S. has stated that they will not renegotiate the Paris accord, but they will try to review the terms on which they could be engaged under this agreement," The Journal reported Canete as saying.

Sarah Sanders: Our position on the Paris agreement has not changed. @POTUS has been clear, US withdrawing unless we get pro-America terms.

However, the White House issued a statement saying there had been "no change" to Trump's stance.

"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," said Lindsey Walter, a deputy White House secretary.

On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States could remain in 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," Tillerson told CBS's "Face the Nation" in an interview.

However, the WSJ report added that a White House spokesperson said the president's stance on the Paris accord had never been set in stone.

Trump is considered a climate change skeptic, and has sharply questioned the impact of environmental policy on American business.

--Reuters contributed to this article.