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US President Donald Trump acknowledged that climate change isn’t a hoax during a 60 Minutes interview on Sunday, but stopped short of blaming human activity for the unfolding environmental calamity, according to CNN.

“I’m not denying climate change,” he said in the interview. “But it could very well go back. You know, we’re talking about over … millions of years.”

“I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again,” he said at another point. “I don’t think it’s a hoax. I think there's probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s manmade.”

Take Action: Ensure All Communities Can Withstand Climate Disaster

The president suggested that fighting climate change would be economically ruinous, costing “millions and millions of jobs,” a claim that has been repeatedly debunked.

In fact, the renewable energy sector hired Americans at 12 times the rate as the overall economy in 2017, and fighting climate change could add $26 trillion to the global economy through a mix of jobs, health care savings, energy efficiency, and resilient environments.

The interview took place days after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida panhandle, and Trump expressed doubt that the storm was made worse by climate change, suggesting that scientists making that argument have an ulterior “political agenda.”

Read More: How Climate Change Made Hurricane Michael More Destructive

While scientists are reluctant to attribute a single hurricane to climate change, many reports have confidently argued that climate change is creating environmental conditions that make powerful hurricanes more likely.

In the case of Hurricane Michael, warmer ocean temperatures and higher sea levels likely enabled the storm's ferocity.

Trump is scheduled to visit areas affected by the hurricane on Monday.

The 60 Minutes interview happened the same week as the United Nations’ latest report on climate change, which called for “rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” Trump received a copy of the 700-page report that was written by 91 of the world’s leading climate scientists from more than 40 countries who reviewed more than 6,000 reports, and told reporters that he was planning to look at it.

Read More: 5 Things You Can Do Now in Response to the UN's Terrifying New Climate Report

The president has consistently cast doubt on climate change and infamously tweeted in 2012 that the global phenomenon was a hoax orchestrated by the Chinese government to achieve an economic advantage. He has also repeatedly asked for global warming in response to cold weather and has confused climate change with global warming.

As far as policies go, the Trump administration has pursued an agenda that aggressively rejects climate science and exacerbates the problem.

The administration has unraveled the Clean Power Plan, which was enacted to combat power plant pollution; weakened emissions standards on cars; watered down rules limiting methane leaks; ended rules preventing highly toxic coal ash and other contaminants from entering bodies of water; opened up public lands and protected marine areas to oil drilling; and announced an intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

Read More: World 'Nowhere Near' Reaching Climate Change Target: UN Report

Without active participation from the US, the global pact would likely fail.


Defend the Planet

Trump Says Climate Change Is Real but Maybe 'It'll Change Back’

By Joe McCarthy  and  Carmen Singer