In an interview on 60 Minutes last night, President Donald Trump backpedaled on his stance that climate change is a hoax, but he didn’t go so far as to acknowledge the reality of climate change and its potentially disastrous effects on the planet.
“I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again. I don’t think it’s a hoax, I think there’s probably a difference,” Trump told Lesley Stahl. “But I don’t know that it’s manmade. I will say this. I don’t wanna give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don’t wanna lose millions and millions of jobs. I don’t wanna be put at a disadvantage.”
“I’m not denying climate change,” Trump said. When Stahl asked about the findings of scientists who are warning about climate change, he replied, “You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda, Lesley.” As for melting glaciers, Trump said, “you don’t know whether or not that would have happened with or without man.”
Trump claimed in 2012 that global warming was invented as an economic move by “the Chinese.”
Just last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an arm of the U.N., released a dire report saying that the world must limit global warming to a rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, as a rise of 2 degrees as targeted by the Paris Agreement would be far more harmful and ultimately more costly. Currently we’re on track for a rise of 3 degrees, which would mean even more heat waves, water shortages and coastal losses.
Per the IPCC report, limiting global warming to a 2 degrees Celsius would require CO2 emissions to drop by around 20% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching “net zero” (through the use of carbon-capturing technologies) by 2075. Achieving only a 1.5-degree increase means cutting emissions by 45% by 2030, and reaching net zero around 2050.
The Trump administration, on the other hand, has a more fatalistic view of climate change. An environmental impact report draft last month assumed an increase of 4 degrees Celsius (7 degrees Fahrenheit) in temperatures by the end of this century, which scientists say would be catastrophic. The draft statement issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was written to justify Trump’s decision to freeze federal fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks built after 2020, the Washington Post reports. The analysis assumes the planet’s fate is already sealed.