President Donald Trump says he'd be open to keeping the U.S. in the Paris climate accord, partly because of his warm relationship with French President Emmanuel Macron — but also cast doubt on climate change science.
Trump pledged in June that he was pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, signed in 2015 by nearly 200 countries after years of negotiations. He continues to call it a bad deal for the U.S.
"The Paris accord, for us, would have been a disaster," Trump said in excerpts of an interview with Piers Morgan on the U.K. TV network ITV broadcast Sunday. "Would I go back in? Yeah, I'd go back in. I like, as you know, I like Emmanuel" Macron.
"I would love to, but it's got to be a good deal for the United States," Trump added. The comments were similar to ones he made Jan. 10 after a meeting with Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
"We can conceivably go back in," Trump said at the time. Countries can't formally submit paperwork to leave the Paris climate agreement until 2019, with their exits effective no earlier than Nov. 4, 2020 — a day after the next U.S. presidential election.
But Trump also expressed skepticism in the ITV interview that the global climate is warming, as a majority of scientists have concluded.
"There is a cooling, and there's a heating," he said. "I mean, look, it used to not be climate change, it used to be global warming. That wasn't working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place. The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they're setting records."
Trump's comment was consistent with one he made on Twitter in late December as the eastern U.S. shivered through a brief cold snap. "Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!"
In 2014, two years before he was elected president, Trump said on Twitter that the "POLAR ICE CAPS are at an all time high, the POLAR BEAR population has never been stronger. Where the hell is global warming."
Data released this month from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show 2017 was the third hottest year on record. Seven of the 18 hottest years have been logged in the 21st century, according to NOAA.
The cost of natural disasters hit records in the U.S. in 2017, straining the budget.