Trump said in the ITV interview that the “polar ice caps were supposed to be gone by now,” but instead they’re “breaking records.”
“The ice caps were going to melt,” he said, “they were going to be gone by now. But now they’re setting records. They’re at a record level.”
Asked if he thinks that climate change is happening, Trump said, “There is a cooling, and there’s a heating. I mean, look, it used to not be climate change, it used to be global warming. Right? That wasn’t working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place.”
This is not how the scientists explain it.
Climate change, according to NASA, refers to “a broad range of global phenomena created predominantly by burning fossil fuels.” The increasing average temperature of the Earth ― that is, global warming ― is one key result. Rising sea levels and an growing trend toward extreme weather and weather anomalies linked to that warming are others.
As for things getting “too cold all over the place,” there hasn’t been a cooler-than-average year since 1976, according to more than 135 years of temperature records kept by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The last four years have been the globe’s four hottest on record, according to NOAA.
But it’s not clear who, except for Trump, thought the melting process would happen so quickly that the ice caps would have disappeared by 2018.
Several scientists criticized Trump’s assessment of climate change and its effects as dead wrong.
“Ice on the ocean and on land are both disappearing rapidly, and we know why: increasing greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels that trap more heat and melt the ice,” Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis told The Associated Press.
Earlier this month, Trump pointed to a winter cold snap on the East Coast as disproving climate change, apparently confusing climate and weather. As NASA and NOAA explain, “climate” refers to trends in atmospheric behavior over long periods of time, whereas weather is what happens today and tomorrow, varying even minute to minute.
Perhaps in an effort to demonstrate his environmental bona fides, Trump told Morgan that he does believe in “clean air. I believe in crystal-clear, beautiful water. I believe in just having good cleanliness in all.”
The president also said he might consider rejoining the Paris climate accord — which he pulled the U.S. out of last year — under different terms.
“If somebody said go back into the Paris accord, it would have to be a completely different deal because we had a horrible deal,” he said. “As usual, they took advantage of the U.S. We were in a terrible deal. Would I go back in? Yeah, I’d go back in. … I would love to, but it’s got to be a good deal for the U.S.”