In an interview on Fox News Sunday, President-elect Donald Trump continued to insist he is “still open-minded” on climate change while also asserting the science isn’t settled. “Nobody really knows,” Trump said. “Look, I’m somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows. It’s not something that’s so hard and fast. I do know this: Other countries are eating our lunch.”
Trump went on to say he’s “studying” the Paris climate agreement which went into effect earlier this year. “I do say this. I don’t want that agreement to put us at a competitive disadvantage with other countries…And as you know, there are different times and different time limits on that agreement. I don’t want that to give China, or other countries signing agreements, an advantage over us.”
Amid comparisons to a witch hunt, Trump’s transition team raised concerns from a variety of interests after requesting from the Department of Energy a list of names of Administration staff who worked on the international climate deal, carbon emission reductions or other climate-related policies for the federal government such as the social cost of carbon. The list requested the publications written by employees of all 17 national labs over the last three years and the professional society memberships of lab workers.
Last week, he tapped Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a climate denier, to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, which has jurisdiction over the Clean Air Act. Trump defended his choice, saying it’s difficult to “get things approved” at EPA and insisting “that’s why people don’t want to invest in this country.” He also met with former Vice President Al Gore, who called the meeting “productive.”