Trump says ‘climate change goes both ways’

US President Donald Trump and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales pose ahead of a dinner at Winfield House on June 04, 2019Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Trump said he was moved by Prince Charles’ passion, but the conversation did not change his views

President Donald Trump has said he believes climate change “goes both ways” following a 90-minute discussion with environmentalist Prince Charles.

“I believe that there’s a change in weather and I think it changes both ways,” Mr Trump told Piers Morgan in an interview that aired on Wednesday.

Mr Trump said he shared the prince’s desire for a “good climate” but blamed other nations for increasing pollution.

He has rolled back many US climate laws despite warnings from his own agencies.

Mr Trump said his meeting with Prince Charles was meant to last only 15 minutes.

“He did most of the talking, and he was really into climate change and I think that’s great,” Mr Trump said of Prince Charles on the ITV programme Good Morning Britain.

“He wants to make sure future generations have climate that is good climate as opposed to a disaster and I agree.”

But Mr Trump once again placed the blame on other countries, namely China, India and Russia, for worsening air and water quality while claiming the US has one of “the cleanest climates there are”.

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Media captionClimate change: How 1.5C could change the world

“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,” the president said.

Mr Trump pointed to past examples of weather disasters to refute the idea that “extreme weather” is becoming more common due to climate change.

“I don’t remember tornados in the United States to this extent but then when you look back 40 years ago we had the worst tornado binge we ever had. In the 1890s we had our worst hurricanes.”

The president said he was moved by Prince Charles’ “passion for future generations” but stopped short of changing any of his views on climate science.

The Prince of Wales has advocated for environmental issues for decades.

Mr Trump has accused climate scientists of having a “political agenda” and called climate change a “hoax”, though he later retracted that statement.

In 2017, he pulled the US out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement, saying the international deal to keep global temperatures rises below 2C was disadvantageous to US workers.

Mr Trump has continued to ignore warnings from his own government agencies, dismissing a 2018 report warning of devastating economic consequences from climate change, saying he did not believe it.

His administration has rolled back dozens of environmental and climate protections and proposed ending rules on oil drilling and coal plants.

What is climate change?

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The world is now about 1C warmer than it was during “pre-industrial times”, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Top scientists and agencies across the world have warned that this rapid, human emissions-induced warming could have serious implications for the stability of the planet’s climate.

For decades, researchers argued the global temperature rise must be kept below 2C by the end of this century to avoid the worst impacts – but that number has changed to below 1.5C in recent years.

Meanwhile, former vice-president and 2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden revealed his own climate plan on Tuesday.

Mr Biden’s $1.7tn (£1.3tn) “clean energy revolution” aims to create green jobs nationwide while addressing climate and energy concerns.

Under the plan, the US would have a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 – the same goal as the Obama administration – and would strive for a “100% clean energy economy” where polluters would “bear the full cost of the carbon pollution they are emitting”.

There would be “aggressive” limits on pollution from oil and gas, protections for federal lands and biodiversity, and investments of $400bn over 10 years in climate science.

Allegations of plagiarism immediately followed the release of Mr Biden’s plan, after conservative news site The Daily Caller found several instances where the campaign directly copied language from other groups.

His campaign corrected the passages, and said in a statement that several citations “were inadvertently left out” and had been added back in.

Mr Biden’s 2020 Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren also unveiled her climate plans on Tuesday.

The Massachusetts senator’s plan would invest $2tn in environmental technology, research, jobs and see the creation of a National Institute of Clean Energy.

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