(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump cast doubt on the science of climate change even while saying he’d be open to keeping the U.S. in the Paris climate accord, partly because of his warm relationship with French President Emmanuel Macron.
“The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records,” Trump said in excerpts of an interview with Piers Morgan on the U.K. television network ITV that will be broadcast later on Sunday. Trump didn’t specify the data behind his statement about setting records.
The president said in June that he was pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, signed in 2015 by almost 200 countries after years of negotiations. He continues to call it a bad deal for the U.S. The accord was reached even after climate science had become a partisan issue in the U.S., with Republican voters becoming more skeptical over the years about the links between a warming planet and human activities.
“The Paris accord, for us, would have been a disaster,” Trump said in excerpts of an interview with Piers Morgan on the U.K. television network ITV that will be broadcast later on Sunday. “Would I go back in? Yeah, I’d go back in. I like, as you know, I like Emmanuel” Macron.
“I would love to, but it’s got to be a good deal for the United States,” Trump added. The comments were similar to ones he made Jan. 10, after a meeting with Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the White House.
“We can conceivably go back in,” Trump said at the time. Countries can’t formally submit paperwork to leave the Paris climate agreement until 2019, with their exits effective no earlier than Nov. 4, 2020 -- a day after the next U.S. presidential election.
Trump also expressed skepticism in the ITV interview that the global climate is warming, as a majority of scientists have concluded.
“There is a cooling, and there’s a heating,” he said. “I mean, look, it used to not be climate change, it used to be global warming. That wasn’t working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place.”
Trump’s comment was consistent with one he made on Twitter in late December as the eastern U.S. shivered through a brief cold snap. “Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”
In 2014, less than a year before he entered the 2016 presidential race, president, Trump said on Twitter that the “POLAR ICE CAPS are at an all time high, the POLAR BEAR population has never been stronger. Where the hell is global warming.”
Data released this month from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show 2017 was the third hottest year on record. Seventeen of the 18 hottest years have been logged in the 21st century, and the planet hasn’t had a cooler than average year since 1976.
On ice caps specifically, NOAA, in its annual Arctic Report Card published in December, said the amount of the Arctic Ocean frozen over in the coldest points of winter set a record low in 2017 and is declining faster than at any time in the past 1,500 years.
The cost of natural disasters hit records in the U.S. in 2017, straining the U.S. budget. NOAA tallied 16 major billion-dollar-plus storms, fires and floods in 2017, including Hurricanes Maria and Harvey, which devastated Puerto Rico and Houston, respectively. The price-tag for damage from those weather and climate events was $306 billion.
A Yale University study in 2016 showed that 82 percent of Democrats believe “global warming is happening,” against 50 percent of Republicans. Democrats consistently had higher rates of worry about global warming and the harm it could do to people in the U.S., and were more supportive of funding research , regulating pollutants, and using renewable energy.
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