Trump on dire warnings in climate report: ‘I don’t believe it’

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFamily says Trump travel ban preventing mother from seeing dying son Saudi Arabia rejects Senate position on Khashoggi killing Five things to know about the Trump inauguration investigation MORE said Monday that he doesn’t “believe” the findings of a major report his administration released forecasting dire consequences to the United States from climate change.

“Yeah, I don’t believe it,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a campaign rally for Sen. Cindy Hyde Smith (R) in Mississippi, when asked about the predictions of economic devastation.

“I’ve seen it, I’ve read some of it, and it’s fine,” Trump said of the report.

The report, part of the fourth congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment from the multi-agency Global Change Research Program, came out Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and a major shopping day for the United States. That led critics to charge that Trump was trying to bury the findings.

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The hundreds of government and external scientists involved in the research concluded that climate change could cost the United States billions of dollars annually within decades if greenhouse gases aren’t dramatically reduced.

“Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century,” it found.

The conclusions generally align with the scientific consensus on climate change, including that human activity, via greenhouse gas emissions, is the chief cause of global warming and its impacts.

Trump has been outspoken in doubting the scientific consensus on climate change. He tweeted in 2012, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

His environmental policy since taking office last year has followed that skepticism. Through the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies, he has sought to significantly roll back or repeal nearly every climate policy former President Obama put into place, including greenhouse gas rules for power plants, cars and oil and natural gas drillers.

Trump’s position that he doesn’t “believe” the report aligns with some other Republicans who sought to discredit its findings.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that scientists involved in the research were motivated to get to their conclusions by money. He did not provide any evidence to back the claim.

“If there was no climate change, we’d have a lot of scientists looking for work. The reality is that a lot of these scientists are driven by the money that they receive,” he said. 

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) also charged that scientists were motivated by money.

“Through the entire report, there’s no dissenting opinion. They went out and picked out people that would say what their conclusions they already wrote before they did the report,” he said Monday on CNN. “It’s flawed, it’s ridiculous and, frankly, embarrassing.”

Updated at 3:41 p.m.