Noted climate change denier Donald Trump, who once said global warming was a scam invented by the Chinese, might not be such a staunch opponent of climate science after all. Or maybe he is. It’s always really hard to tell what the president-elect actually thinks, so Trump’s noncommittal interview response on Tuesday isn’t super encouraging when compared with his history of anti-science stances.
Trump acknowledged that maybe, perhaps, there was a little bit of a connection between global climate change and human activity during his very dramatic, nearly canceled visit to the New York Times’s office on Tuesday afternoon.
“I think there is some connectivity,” told the Times newspaper. “Some, something. It depends on how much.” Trump added that he’s worried about “how much it will cost our companies,” to combat what’s probably the biggest threat to humanity’s continued existence on this planet.
Here are two tweets from inside the room with Trump:
Still, some progress is better than no progress, right? Maybe a Trump administration won’t be a total disaster for the planet. Or, maybe, Trump was just saying whatever he thought the folks at the New York Times wanted to hear without really putting much thought into it. “Some connectivity” isn’t exactly a bold, impassioned stance — especially when you look at the positions Trump has taken on the scientific issue in the past.
First it was “bullshit” on New Year’s Day, January 2014.
Then, a few weeks later, “HOAXSTERS.”
Trump’s inability to tell the difference between global climate and weather certainly suggests that he didn’t suddenly do a legitimate about face on the issue while visiting the Times’ offices. It was cold in New York on Tuesday, so there’s a greater than zero chance that Trump hops on Twitter at 3 a.m. to declare the whole concept of climate change a bogus con cooked up in Beijing.
More concerning — and actionable — than the president-elect’s Twitter history, however, are his policies. So far, they promise to be disastrous for the planet. Trump tapped Myron Ebell to lead his EPA transition team, and it’s likely that Ebell will head up the agency once Trump’s in office. Ebell, who works for a libertarian advocacy group, is one of the most prominent climate change skeptics out there. Ebell takes money from the fossil fuel industry and spews misinformation about climate change in exchange. He’ll probably gut the EPA if he’s allowed to.
Diplomats from around the world were distraught earlier this month at COP22, the United Nations climate change conference in Marrakech, Morocco. Trump’s half-assed admission that there’s maybe “some connectivity” between climate change and human activity certainly isn’t enough to comfort any of them, because it’s doubtful that he actually believes what he’s saying or even cares. All the evidence suggests otherwise.Photos via Getty Images / Win McNamee