According to The Guardian, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Donald Trump’s treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, openly dismissed Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg‘s calls for fossil fuel divestment, commenting that she was ill-informed.
Following the 17-year-old’s speech on ending fossil fuel investment and subsidies for the industry, Mnuchin took the mic at a press conference. He began by pretending not to know who Thunberg was, telling the audience that he was “confused,” before adding that he was joking.
“Is she the chief economist? Who is she, I’m confused.”
He continued his jibe about her not being an economist with his follow-up comment.
“After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us,” he added.
Reporters pushed Mnuchin to comment on the Trump administration’s stance on the climate crisis.
Insisting that environmental issues are “complicated,” the treasury secretary launched into a story about driving a Tesla in California, noting that he “liked it.” Mnuchin then implied that even though electric cars are more friendly toward the environment, the batteries that they use come with their own drawbacks.
“But nobody focuses on how that electricity is made and what happens to the storage and the environmental issues on all these batteries.”
Munchin also remarked that the U.S. is attempting to tackle climate concerns through the private sector instead of the government. He added that while Trump advocates for clean air, water, and environment, he believes that the center of the environmental problem lies with China and India.
Further criticizing Thunberg’s call, Mnuchin specified that there are “significant economic issues” associated with ending fossil fuel investment, notably in the form of jobs. He said that many economies are now transitioning to more efficient and cleaner energy, but that it doesn’t have to be all renewable.
U.S. labor secretary Eugene Scalia shares Mnuchin’s views of a balanced approach to tackling the issue. He explained at the forum that the energy sector has been an important source of jobs in the United States and that divesting from fossil fuels would harm U.S. pensioners.
Trump also rejected Thunberg’s concerns during his keynote speech at the World Economic Forum. The president opined that delegates should be optimistic instead of heeding the advice of “prophets of doom.”
“To embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse. They are the heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers.”
Trump and Thunberg have a history of not seeing eye-to-eye, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. In the past, the president has accused the climate activist of having an “anger management problem,” adding that she needs to “chill.”