'I believe there's a change in weather:' Trump gives confusing answer when confronted on whether he believes in climate change

ITVPresident Donald Trump discusses climate change with Piers Morgan in an interview for ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain’ news show, broadcast June 5, 2019.
  • President Donald Trump on Wednesday gave a confusing answer to a question on whether he agrees with the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.
  • During an interview with Piers Morgan on “Good Morning Britain” broadcast Wednesday, Trump said that he spoke to Prince Charles about climate change.
  • However, the president pivoted away from questions on whether he personally believes that climate change is real, and instead said he believes there’s been a demonstrated “change in weather.”
  • The Trump administration has faced global backlash over its inaction on climate change, and UK Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to address the issue with Trump during his state visit.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday gave a confusing answer to a question on whether he agrees with the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.

Trump is currently in the UK as part of a three-day state visit, where he has met with members of the royal family and senior government officials, including Prince Charles, a noted environmentalist.

During an interview with Piers Morgan on UK’s “Good Morning Britain” on Wednesday, Trump said that he spoke to Charles about a range of issues, including climate change.

“He is really into climate change, and I think that’s great,” Trump said.”I totally listened to him.”

Trump claimed the meeting lasted “an hour and a half”, though it was actually 45 minutes.

“What he really wants and what he really feels warmly about is the future. He wants to make sure future generations have climate that is good climate, as opposed to a disaster, and I agree,” Trump said.

But when pushed by Morgan on whether he accepts that this requires action from countries including the US, Trump deflected responsibility onto other nations.

Trump said: “I did say, ‘well, the United States right now has among the cleanest climates there are based on all statistics’. And it’s even getting better because I agree with that we want the best water, the cleanest water. It’s crystal clean, has to be crystal clean clear.”

“China, India, Russia, many other nations, they have not very good air, not very good water in the sense of pollution and cleanliness. If you go to certain cities you can’t even breathe,” he added.

When asked by Morgan if he personally believes in climate change, Trump said he agreed that there has been a change in weather patterns over time, but avoided addressing the issue directly.

“I believe there’s a change in weather, and I think it changes both ways,” he said.

“Don’t forget, it used to be called global warming, that wasn’t working, then it was called climate change, now it’s actually called extreme weather, because with extreme weather you can’t miss.”

The Trump administration has faced international backlash over its inaction on climate change, beginning with Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement in 2017, which set a global goal to prevent the planet from warming by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels.

Climate think tanks warned this week that rising temperatures could pose an “existential threat” to the world by 2050.

On Monday, Downing Street told BBC News that Prime Minister Theresa May would address Trump’s stance on climate change during a meeting between the two leaders.

The statement comes after hundreds of academics wrote a letter to May, saying Trump’s “reckless approach is a threat to the whole world.”

“Tackling climate change is a priority for the UK,” a spokesperson for the UK government told the BBC.

According to The New York Times, the White House is set to complete a rollback of Obama-era policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions within the next few months.

The administration has also pushed for the expansion of oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and has proposed cuts to the National Park Service and the Environmental Protection Agency in its 2020 federal budget.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.