President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the United States could ''conceivably'' return to the Paris climate accord, although he stopped short of any actual move in that direction.
''Frankly, it's an agreement that I have no problem with, but I had a problem with the agreement that they signed, because, as usual, they made a bad deal. So we can conceivably go back in,'' Trump told a news conference.
However, the remarks came on the same day that Trump dismissed the importance of renewable energy and said he was a ''massive'' supporter of oil.
During a press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in Washington, Trump said he was ''for massive oil'' and criticised Hillary Clinton as being ''for windmills''.
Trump had announced his intention last June to pull out of the 2015 accord on curbing emissions that lead to global warming, reversing one of President Barak Obama's major achievements.
But the process of leaving the accord is long and complex, and Trump's comments will renew questions about whether he actually intends to withdraw or simply wants easier US emissions targets.
A full US pullout could jeopardise global efforts to limit average warming to under 2°Celsius over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.
Standing alongside Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Trump presented himself as a champion of environmentalism.
''I feel very strongly about the environment,'' he said. We ''want to have clean water, clean air, but we also want businesses that can compete.
One of the great assets of Norway is a thing called water,'' Trump said. ''They have tremendous hydro power, tremendous. In fact most of your energy or your electricity is produced by hydro. I wish we would do some of that.''
Emmanuel Macron, the French president, said last month that he believed Mr Trump would bring America back into the agreement, raising hopes for an about-turn.
The US president has at times seemed torn between advisors like his daughter Ivanka, who advocate policies that mitigate the effects of climate change, and aides who believe international accords hold America back, according to AFP.
In the year since coming to office, Trump's administration has worked to ease environmental legislation, which industry considers a burden on growth.
''The Paris Accord really would have taken away our competitive edge. And we are not going to let that happen,'' he said.
Michael Bloomberg, the businessman, has pledged alongside some governors to fight Trump's departure from the Paris climate change at a local level.