The Slatest

Trump Says “Nobody Really Knows” if Climate Change Is Real

President-elect Donald Trump tosses a hat into the crowd while speaking at the Dow Chemical Hangar on Friday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Donald Trump continues to act as if there is no scientific consensus on climate change, saying in a Fox News Sunday* interview that “nobody really knows” whether it’s real. There is hope though because the president-elect says he’s “very open-minded” on the issue and is still “studying” whether the United States should withdraw from the global climate change agreement sealed in Paris last year. Trump did emphasize though that one of his priorities as president will be to decrease the amount of environmental oversight in order to prioritize business growth.

In an interview that aired Sunday, Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked Trump for a definitive answer on where he stands on environmental issues, Trump made clear that he’s choosing to listen to those who refuse to believe there is a scientific consensus on climate change. “I’m very open-minded. I’m still open-minded. Nobody really knows. Look, I’m somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows. It’s not something that’s so hard and fast,” Trump said. “I do know this: Other countries are eating our lunch.” That’s why he’s looking into the Paris Agreement and whether the U.S. should withdraw: “I don’t want that agreement to put as at a competitive disadvantage with other countries.”

Trump said that businesses don’t want to set up shop in the United States because there are too many regulations. “If you look at what—I could name country after country. You look at what’s happening in Mexico, where our people are just—plants are being built, and they don’t wait 10 years to get an approval to build a plant, OK?” he said. “They build it like the following day or the following week. We can’t let all of these permits that take forever to get stop our jobs.”

Trump’s refusal to recognize the science behind climate change is hardly new considering that in 2012 he wrote on Twitter that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He also mocked the very idea of climate change during a town hall in New Hampshire.

*Correction, Dec. 12, 2016, at 2:10 p.m.: This article incorrectly credited the interview to Fox News rather than Fox News Sunday.