U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said President Donald Trump believes the climate is changing after administration officials spent days avoiding saying whether or not the president thinks climate change is real.
“President Trump believes the climate is changing. And he believes pollutants are part of that equation. So that is the fact. That is where we are. That’s where it stands,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview due to air on “State of the Union” on Sunday.
In the past, Trump has said that climate change is a hoax and “bullshit.” Reporters pressed White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on the president’s position this week after Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement, but both men avoided the question.
Pressed by Tapper on Trump’s views, Haley initially echoed Spicer and Pruitt, saying that withdrawal from the accord was about American businesses. Eventually, however, she said that the president believes the U.S. has to be responsible for a changing environment.
“He knows that it’s changing. He knows that the U.S. has to be responsible with it, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Haley said. “Just because we got out of a club doesn’t mean that we don’t care about the environment.”
There is overwhelming evidence the climate is warming and human beings are a big contributor to that trend.
Pruitt, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Energy Secretary Rick Perry have conceded the climate is changing, but they’ve questioned what people and the United States can do about it. Elliott Negin, director of news and commentary at the nonprofit environmental group Union of Concerned Scientists, told HuffPost in January that such a position was a surface-level effort by those officials to make their positions seem reasonable.
“Over the years, they’ve changed their tune because to say climate change isn’t happening now makes them look ridiculous, so they don’t say it anymore,”he said. “Now they say it’s happening, but we don’t have any idea how bad it might be because they dispute climate modeling.”