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Trump 'Leaning to Understand the European Position' on Paris Climate Accord

The chief economic adviser for President Trump told reporters at the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, that the president "is leaning to understand the European position" on the Paris Climate Accord.

"Look, as you know from the U.S., there's very strong views on both sides. Both sides are running ads," Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn said. "So he knows that in the U.S. there's very strong opinions on both sides but he also knows that Paris has important meaning to many of the European leaders. And he wants to clearly hear what the European leaders have to say."

Trump vowed during the campaign to "cancel" the 2016 agreement between 145 countries that requires the United States to cut emissions from 2005 levels 26 to 28 percent by 2025. Leaders were expected to lobby him on maintaining U.S. participation during the summit.

In a bilateral meeting with Trump on Thursday in Brussels, French President Emmanuel Macron said fighting terrorism and respecting the Paris Climate Agreement were at the top of the agenda.

Aboard Air Force One from Brussels to Sicily on Thursday night, Cohn noted that at the G7 "climate will also come up – how climate affects trade, how climate affects manufacturing."

"The president has told you that he’s going to ultimately make a decision on Paris and climate when he gets back. He’s interested to hear what the G7 leaders have to say about climate. It will be a fairly robust discussion on that," Cohn said. "We know that because we had it today with the French president, we had it with the Belgians, we had it with all the bilaterals we’ve had. Paris has come up so we know that that will come up some more in the discussions.”

“I think he’s heard arguments that are persuasive on both sides. They’re both good arguments," Cohn added while answering a question from reporters. "The one argument that’s probably the most persuasive, and don’t read too much into this, is that the last levels we put out in the Paris agreement were levels that would be constraining to our economic growth. So that’s something that the president knows and I think we all agree with."

"Then you get into the whole discussion on Paris – is it non-binding? Is it not non-binding? Can you change your levels? How easy is it to change your levels? Japan did change their levels after Fukishima. They went up in their levels. So there’s a whole discussion about levels and can you change them or not. We know that the levels that were agreed to by the prior administration would be highly crippling to the U.S. economic growth.”

On Monday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a resolution co-sponsored by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) calling on the Trump administration to withdraw from the agreement. Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) introduced companion legislation in the House.