December 12, 2016
Donald Trump: ‘Nobody knows’ if climate change is real
Doing little to calm pre-election concerns over his viewpoint on the subject, US President-Elect Donald Trump on Sunday said that “nobody really knows” whether or not climate change was a real thing, adding that he was “studying” the Paris accord on greenhouse gas emissions.
Trump’s comments were made during an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace this weekend, and as the Washington Post noted, come just days after he appointed a well-known climate skeptic, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, as the new head of the EPA.Contrary to the President-Elect’s position on the climate change issue, the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations body created to deliver an objective, scientific view of climate change and its global impacts, called it “extremely likely” that human activity was the “dominant cause” of the Earth’s current warming trend.
Furthermore, data indicates that the 10 hottest years ever recorded have all happened since 1998, and NASA scientists have determined that 2016 will almost certainly be the hottest year ever, or at least since formal records were first kept in 1880, the Washington Post said. The space agency added that 97% of actively-publishing climate scientists were in agreement on the matter.
Nonetheless, Trump, during his Sunday morning interview with Wallace, said, “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.”
President-Elect promises to balance environmental laws, business interests
During his campaign, Trump had previously called climate change a “hoax” that was invented by China, although after meeting with the New York Times editorial board last month, the New York business magnate seemed to soften his stance, saying (as he did on Sunday) that he had an “open mind” on the issue and would “look at it very carefully,” according to CBS News.
Last week, a memorandum obtained by Bloomberg News revealed that the Trump team wanted to identify Energy Department officials who had taken part in international climate negotiations over the past five years, as well as those who worked to shape the climate policies of the Obama administration. It is uncertain if the intent is to identify and then replace those individuals.
When asked about his reason for choosing Pruitt to head the EPA, Trump said that it would be a way to “speed up the process” for permit approvals and related agency business. Furthermore, he told Wallace that he did not intend to – in Wallace’s words – “take a wrecking ball to the Obama legacy” on climate change, and that he only wanted to do “what’s right” for the country.
He elaborated that any environmental regulation needed to be weighed against the restrictions they would place on domestic manufacturers and businesses, adding that companies in China and other parts of the country are free to work without the limits placed on US firms. “We can’t let all of these permits that take forever to get stop our jobs,” the President-Elect noted.
Image credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr