As the United States struggles to contain damage from multiple national disasters right now — including wildfires and mudslides in California, persistent hurricane damage in Puerto Rico and Texas, and the melting of permafrost in Alaska — the country’s president cast doubt about climate change in a new interview this weekend.
President Donald Trump also seemed to admit his own confusion about what is really happening with climate change during an interview with British TV personality Piers Morgan for ITV News Sunday night.
"There is a cooling, and there’s a heating,” Trump said, referring to global temperatures. “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.”
Climate change and global warming are two separate phenomenon — global warming, when temperatures rise, drives climate change, the disruption of rain patterns, storm patterns, ecosystems, and much more.
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Trump then went on to admit that the ice caps were melting.
"The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records,” Trump told Morgan. “They’re at a record level."
Temperatures in the Arctic have been rising twice as fast as the global average, causing the region’s ice to shrink 7.4% every decade since 1979, an average decrease of 28,000 square miles every year.
The record level Trump referred to is that ice caps were at their lowest point in recorded history in 2017.
Trump also said that he would consider rejoining the Paris climate agreement if the terms became more favorable to the US, according to Newsweek.
The Paris climate agreement is a voluntary arrangement in which countries set their own objectives. The US had set targets that would have likely been reached if previous policies under the Obama administration had simply been maintained.
Before taking office, US President Donald Trump called climate change a hoax engineered by the Chinese government. After taking office, Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, ended the Clean Power Plan, and has consistently prioritized fossil fuel development over clean energy.
Because countries have so far failed to sufficiently curb fossil fuel production and consumption, the world is on track to greatly surpass the threshold of global warming that the Paris agreement warned would bring about catastrophic climate change.
Global Citizen campaigns on curbing fossil fuel development and you can take action on this issue here.
While Trump may or may not believe in climate change, he does believe in some things.
“I believe in clean air and crystal clear water and having good cleanliness,” he told Morgan.