WSJ Says Trump Has Changed His Mind About Leaving the Paris Agreement

But don’t get too excited.

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Update 5:35 p.m. ET: White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters pushed back on the Wall Street Journal report in a statement, “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 Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration has told European officials that it won’t leave the Paris agreement

Trump administration officials said Saturday the U.S. wouldn’t pull out of the Paris Agreement, offering to re-engage in the international deal to fight climate change, according to the European Union’s top energy official.

The shift from President Donald Trump’s decision in June to renegotiate the landmark accord or craft a new deal came during a meeting of more than 30 ministers led by Canada, China and the European Union in Montreal.

“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,” European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said.

The Paris Agreement is not legally binding, and there is no enforcement mechanism. That is why environmental groups warned earlier this year that staying in Paris “in name only” would not be the win people might think. But, as my colleague Rebecca Leber noted in May, it would still be preferable to leaving entirely “if only because it would be easier to pick up the pieces in four years if Trump isn’t reelected.”

Even if the U.S. remained, the Trump administration would not have had to do anything if they didn’t want to. “Since Paris is voluntary, there’s no concrete reason for Trump to pull out or to stay in,” Kevin Drum wrote in May. “The United States can do whatever it wants either way. The whole thing is about signaling,”

There was a lot of blowback from the international community when Trump announced he was pulling us out of Paris. Maybe they finally realized that they can weaken it without having China bring it up in every meeting by just staying in?

The timing might also be significant, considering that this comes on the heels of Trump’s reported deal on DACA, it seems likely remaining in the international climate agreement will only add to the discontent among the far right and fuel their suspicion that Trump has decided to sell them out

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

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