President Donald Trump, speaking during a hurricane recovery briefing in Georgia, said he believes “there is something there” when asked about climate change, but once again cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activity.
“There’s something there, there’s no question,” Trump said. “Man-made or not, I mean there’s something there. It’s going back and forth.”
The remarks, which came after he spent time in Florida touring the devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael, echoed comments he made in an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday night in which he acknowledged “something’s changing.”
But the President’s insistence that climate change is cyclical – and not caused by man-made greenhouse gases – is at odds with the broad consensus among scientists that the climate change the world is facing is caused by human activity and leading to an irreversible rise in global temperatures.
Last week, the United Nations’ scientific panel studying climate change issued a stark warning about the impact rising global temperatures will have on the planet if carbon emissions continue apace, including food shortages, worsening wildfires and coral reefs dying off en masse by 2040.
Trump, who pulled out of the landmark Paris climate accord last year and whose administration has quashed one environmental regulation after the next, proclaimed himself “truly an environmentalist.”
“I am truly an environmentalist. A lot of people smile when they hear that,” Trump said, claiming he wants “crystal clean water” and “the cleanest air on the planet.”
Trump went on to falsely claim that US air quality has improved since last year, saying “now we have” the “cleanest air on the planet” – a distinction currently held by Finland, according to the World Health Organization.
“It’s gotten better since last year, even better and I’m very, very tough on that,” Trump said. “I have the cleanest air and I’m going to have the cleanest air, but that doesn’t mean we have to put every one of our businesses out of business,” Trump said.
But Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency has loosened or altogether scrapped regulations designed to protect the environment and improve air quality, instead delivering a windfall for fossil fuel businesses.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released a report stating that climate change is leading to stronger storms, like the storm whose devastation Trump toured earlier on Monday.
Asked about thee report, Trump said he had not seen it, saying “I’ll have to look at it.”
Pressed about climate change during the “60 Minutes” interview, Trump said taking action to limit greenhouse gases would lead to losses of “trillions and trillions of dollars” and “millions and millions of jobs.”
“I don’t wanna be put at a disadvantage,” Trump said, focusing on the economic impact.