Trump says climate change goes 'both ways' as he sticks to his beliefs

US President Donald Trump and Britain's Prince Charles, joined by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and British Prime Miinister Theresa May, at a dinner at Winfield House in London on June 5, 2019.
US President Donald Trump and Britain's Prince Charles, joined by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and British Prime Miinister Theresa May, at a dinner at Winfield House in London on June 5, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (WASHINGTON POST) - His eldest daughter, Ivanka, could not change his mind.

His former secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, could not change his mind.

Scores of international scientists could not change his mind.

And now President Donald Trump, who has called global warming a "Chinese hoax" and pulled the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, appears similarly unmoved by an appeal from British royalty.

The president left a 90-minute meeting this week with Prince Charles unconvinced that the climate is warming, which it is, according to overwhelming scientific consensus. The Earth's average surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth highest since 1880, when record-keeping began. That means that the past five years have been the warmest in recorded history.

But the president has other beliefs.

"I believe that there's a change in weather, and I think it changes both ways," he said in a wide-ranging interview with Piers Morgan on "Good Morning Britain" that aired on Wednesday (June 5).

"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."

 
 
 
 

Trump cited severe conditions from long ago as evidence for his views, even though scientists say extreme events are becoming more common, driven by climate change.

"Forty years ago, we had the worst tornado binge we've ever had," Trump said. "In the 1890s, we had our worst hurricanes."

He said he was impressed by the passion displayed by the Prince of Wales, who has been an outspoken advocate on climate issues. The two were supposed to meet for 15 minutes, Trump said, but ended up speaking for an hour and a half. He said he shared the prince's desire for a "good climate as opposed to a disaster".

But the president blamed China, India and Russia for polluting the environment and said the United States was responsible for "among the cleanest climates".

Carbon dioxide emissions by the United States, the world's second-largest emitter, rose an estimated 3.4 per cent in 2018, according to findings published in January by the independent economic research firm Rhodium Group. And as the White House gears up to counter the consensus on climate change, it has tapped William Happer, a National Security Council senior director, to lead the effort.

Happer once said, "The demonisation of carbon dioxide is just like the demonisation of the poor Jews under Hitler."