President Donald Trump has been steadily dismantling Obama administration efforts to help curb climate change and greenhouse gas emissions since taking office in January of 2017.
In addition to gutting regulations on oil, coal and gas emissions over the past two years, Trump moved to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement and even said outright that he didn’t believe the conclusions of a major report on the critical consequences of climate change issued Friday by 13 government agencies from his own administration.
Even though Trump’s argument against regulating polluting industries has focused on the economic impact, he seemed unconcerned with the Fourth National Climate Assessment report, which predicted hundreds of billions of dollars in losses to the U.S. by the end of the century if the global temperature continues rising.
“As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it,” he told The Washington Post in an interview Tuesday.
He dismissed the report his own administration quietly issued a month early on a day when most Americans were enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.
The report stated that the Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any previous point in modern history and that humans are to blame. The impacts are already being felt in the United States through more powerful storms, more severe and damaging wildfires and increased flooding.
“One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers,” Trump said in the Post interview.
While Democratic lawmakers are promising action on the issue on Capitol Hill, they will most certainly face challenges from a Republican-controlled Senate and White House.
“We're going to raise these issues as high as we can. We're going to organize a green political wave across this country and then ask Republicans if they want to vote against it at their own peril,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said on Monday.
The report, compiled with input from hundreds of scientists, details in a comprehensive, 1,656-page document the devastating consequences of rising global temperatures on the economy, human health and the environment.
Skeptics in Congress, mainly Republicans, are still unconvinced and maintain climate change is not man-made.
Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe is famous for bringing a snowball onto the Senate floor in 2015 to make a point about climate change.
“The question is all this due to manmade anthropogenic gasses and the answer is no,” Inhofe said on Monday during an interview with CMG’ National Bureau.
At Tuesday’s White House briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders called the new report “radical” and defended Trump’s record.
“The president is certainly leading on what matters most in this process, and that's on having clean air, clean water. In fact, the U.S. continues to be a leader on that front,” she insisted.
Global warming may be a topic of discussion when Trump meets with other world leaders at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires on Friday and Saturday.
CMG Washington Bureau Correspondent Kristin Wright contributed to this report.
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