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Trump Backtracks on Paris Agreement, Admits Link Between Man and Climate Change

Nov 24, 2016 04:03 AM EST
Donald Trump Holds Campaign Town Hall In Tampa
President-elect Donald Trump appeared to have changed his stance on climate change and said he would be keeping an “open mind” about the Paris Agreement.
(Photo : Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

President-elect Donald J. Trump had tempered his stance on climate change and said he would be keeping an "open mind" about the Paris Climate Agreement.

Scientists have addressed how humans contribute to the current warming trend, stating at the 2013 UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) fifth assessment report that "human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century."

During his campaign, Trump openly denied man-made climate change and called it a "Chinese hoax," while threatening to cancel the landmark Paris climate accord - one of the most significant international agreements that seek to combat climate change. He plans to open up federal lands to oil and gas drilling, even increase production of one of the most harmful fossil fuels in the world - coal. He plans to eliminate "unnecessary regulations" in the energy industry, mostly rules that protect streams from coal mining and waterways and wetlands.

Most importantly, Trump has appointed climate change skeptic Myron Ebell to lead his transition team for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

However, in an interview with the New York Times, Trump had softened his views about the issue, admitting that human activity is somehow linked to climate change.

"I think there is some connectivity. Some, something," Trump said. "It depends on how much."

Trump also reportedly said that he is "considering how much it will cost our companies" when it comes to climate change, and keeping an "open mind" about withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.

"I'm looking at it very closely. I have an open mind to it," Trump said, adding that clean air and "crystal clear water" are vitally important.

In light of a recent climate study, climatologist Michael Mann of Penn State University said that a Trump presidency - if he decides to pull out of the Paris Agreement - could mean "game over" for the climate.

"Currently, our planet is in a warm phase - an interglacial period," Tobias Friedrich, co-author of the study, said in a statement. "And the associated increased climate sensitivity needs to be taken into account for future projections of warming induced by human activities."

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