Donald Trump has today declared that “nobody really knows” if climate change is real. Speaking to host Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, the President-Elect made the comment while being pressed on his climate change policy.
“I’m still open-minded. Nobody really knows. Look, I’m somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows. It’s not something that’s so hard and fast. I do know this: Other countries are eating our lunch.”
The comment came after Trump announced that he is studying whether the United States should withdraw from their commitment to limit their environmental impact made at the Paris summit last year.
The commitment, made under the Obama administration has the goal of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius with all countries involved agreeing to achieve zero carbon emissions between 2030 and 2050. As one of the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses, the agreement is contingent on the United States taking a lead.
In response to speculation that the United States would attempt to back out of the agreement under the leadership of Trump, French President Francois Holland has announced that he plans to have a dialogue with Trump on the topic on behalf of the other countries involved in the deal.
“The United States, the most powerful economy in the world, the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, must respect the commitments that were made. It’s not simply their duty, it’s in their interest.”
At the same time, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed that France and the rest of Europe impose a tariff on products imported from the United States if the country backs out of the climate deal. In addition to reducing the competitiveness of US producers, this has the potential to cause an unprecedented downturn in global trade.
Trump has come under fire in the past week when it was announced that he appointed Oklahoma Attorney General and noted climate change skeptic Scott Pruitt as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is a close ally of the fossil fuel industry and was a vocal critic of Obama’s climate change policies, particularly the Paris agreement.
This isn’t the first time Trump has voiced his skepticism of climate change. The President-Elect famously tweeted in 2012 that the issue was a hoax created by China to reduce America’s effectiveness in production. Trump later played the comment off as a joke, but not before repeating it during his presidential campaign this year.
During a town hall meeting in New Hampshire recently Trump was asked by Meghan Andrade, a volunteer for the League of Conservative Voters about his plans for action on climate change. He replied by addressing the room.
“Let me ask you this — take it easy, fellas — how many people here believe in global warming? Do you believe in global warming?”
After asking the room repeatedly who believed in global warming, Trump was reportedly met with a significant show of hands. Regardless, he declared to the crowd that no one believes in global warming.
Trump has this week met with noted environmental activists Leonardo DiCaprio and former Vice President Al Gore to hold discussions on climate change. DiCaprio met with Trump to discuss how jobs linked to environmentalism can benefit the economy.
According to a statement issued to Associated Press, the discussion focused on the creation of major economic revival in the United States by investing in sustainable infrastructure. At this stage the outcome of the discussions and their impact on Trump’s stance on climate change are unclear.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/ Getty Images]