Leonardo DiCaprio, Trump talk climate change

Story highlights

  • Leonardo DiCaprio met with President-elect Trump to discuss climate change and green energy jobs
  • Despite meeting with the DiCaprio and another famous environmentalist, Al Gore, Trump has sent mixed signals about how seriously he will take the threat of climate change
  • Trump's pick to head the EPA in his administration has questioned the science behind climate change

(CNN)Leonardo DiCaprio met with President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday to discuss climate change -- adding to the mixed signals from the President-elect on the environment.

"We presented the President-elect and his advisors with a framework ... that details how to unleash a major economic revival across the United States that is centered on investments in sustainable infrastructure," Terry Tamminen, CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, said in a statement. "Our conversation focused on how to create millions of secure, American jobs in the construction and operation of commercial and residential clean, renewable energy generation.
DiCaprio's meeting with Trump only added to the mixed messages coming out of Trump Tower, particularly on the issue of climate change.
On the same day of his meeting with DiCaprio, Trump tapped Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt -- a climate change denier -- to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is an opponent of many of the Obama EPA's environmental regulations, and sued the agency over its regulations of power plants in his capacity as attorney general.
Coupled with Trump's own history of climate change skepticism, environmentalists see dim prospects for action that scientists say is necessary to avert the most devastating consequences of climate change. Trump has called climate change a "hoax" but in a recent interview allowed for the possibility that human activity may be contributing to global warming.
Trump held a separate meeting this week with another high-profile environmental activist -- former Vice President Al Gore, who has also championed the fight against climate change in his career after politics.
DiCaprio has used his celebrity to champion environmental causes. He emphasized the threat of climate change in his 2016 Academy Awards acceptance speech -- "Climate change is real, it is happening right now," he said -- and produced a documentary on the subject, titled "Before the Flood," which was released this year. According to "The Independent," DiCaprio gave Ivanka Trump a copy of the documentary at the meeting.
The statement from his foundation added that "climate change is bigger than politics, and the disastrous effects on our planet and our civilization will continue regardless of what party holds majorities in Congress or occupies the White House."
And according to the foundation, there may be another meeting.
"The President-elect expressed his desire for a follow up meeting in January, and we look forward to continuing the conversation with the incoming administration as we work to stop the dangerous march of climate change, while putting millions of people to work at the same time," Tamminen said in the statement.
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the DiCaprio meeting.
How drastic might Trump's climate change policy changes be? A report released in November by the International Energy Agency (IEA) outlines two key scenarios for emissions and global warming in the coming decades.
The first scenario assumes world leaders keep the promises made in Paris last year at the United Nation's COP21 summit. The agreement between more than 175 countries introduced environmentally friendly policies to slow the increase in emissions and global warming.
The second scenario assumes no real action is taken and agreements are brushed aside, resulting in a 36% surge in carbon dioxide emissions by 2040, nearly three times the increase expected under the first scenario. While that would be a nightmare for environmentalists, it's unlikely that all Paris signatories would abandon their pledges.
Still, according to a recent United Nations Environment report, the world is still heading for a temperature rise of 2.9 to 3.4 degrees Celsius this century, even with the Paris pledges.