President Donald Trump is backing off his claim that climate change is a hoax but says he doesn’t know if it’s manmade and suggests that the climate will “change back again.”
In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday night, Trump said he doesn’t want to put the U.S. at a disadvantage in responding to climate change.
“I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a hoax. I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s manmade. I will say this: I don’t want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don’t want to lose millions and millions of jobs.”
Trump called climate change a hoax in November 2012 when he sent a tweet stating, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He later said he was joking about the Chinese connection, but in years since has continued to call global warming a hoax.
“I’m not denying climate change,” he said in the interview. “But it could very well go back. You know, we’re talking about over a … millions of years.”
As far as the climate “changing back,” temperature records kept by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that the world hasn’t had a cooler-than-average year since 1976 or a cooler-than-normal month since the end of 1985.
Trump also expressed doubt over scientists’ findings linking the changing climate to more powerful hurricanes.
“They say that we had hurricanes that were far worse than what we just had with Michael,” said Trump, who identified “they” as “people” after being pressed by “60 Minutes” correspondent Leslie Stahl. She asked, “What about the scientists who say it’s worse than ever?” the president replied, “You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda.”
Trump’s comments came just days after a Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a warning that global warming would increase climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth. The report detailed how Earth’s weather, health and ecosystems would be in better shape if the world’s leaders could somehow limit future human-caused warming.
Citing concerns about the pact’s economic impact, Trump said in 2017 that the U.S. will leave the Paris climate accord. The agreement set voluntary greenhouse gas emission targets in an effort to lessen the impact of fossil fuels.
On a different topic, Trump told “60 Minutes” that he’s been surprised by Washington being a tough, deceptive and divisive place, though some accuse the real estate mogul elected president of those same tactics.
“So I always used to say the toughest people are Manhattan real estate guys and blah, blah,” he said. “Now I say they’re babies.”
He said the political people in Washington have changed his thinking.
“This is the most deceptive, vicious world. It is vicious, it’s full of lies, deceit and deception,” he said. “You make a deal with somebody and it’s like making a deal with — that table.”
On Saudi Arabia, Trump vowed “severe punishment” if evidence is found proving the Saudis killed missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “It’s being looked at very, very strongly,” Trump said. “And we would be very upset and angry if that were the case. As of this moment, they deny it. And deny it vehemently. Could it be them? Yes.”
But he stopped short of saying the U.S. may curtail arms shipments to Saudi Arabia: “I tell you what I don’t wanna do. Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon. . . I don’t wanna hurt jobs. I don’t wanna lose an order like that. There are other ways of — punishing, to use a word that’s a pretty harsh word, but it’s true.”
Trump also claimed the EU treats the U.S. with hostility and has been taking advantage of the U.S. for years. “Nobody treats us much worse than the European Union,” he said. “The European Union was formed in order to take advantage of us on trade, and that’s what they’ve done.”
When asked about NATO, Trump disputed Stahl’s statement that the organization has “kept the peace for 70 years.”
“You don’t know that,” he said. When asked if it’s true that Mattis told him NATO’s function is to avoid World War III, Trump said “that’s not true. . . .Frankly, I like General Mattis. I think I know more about it than he does. And I know more about it from the standpoint of fairness, that I can tell you,” as he again claimed NATO allies do not pay their fair share.
Trump vs Climate Change in CBS’ “60 Minutes” Interview