During Trump’s recent state visit to the UK, he met with Prince Charles, the Queen’s eldest son and heir apparent to the throne, to talk about climate change.
Prince Charles regularly speaks out against the climate crisis. He’s given warnings to the UN on the topic, and even co-authored a Ladybird book about it outlining the challenges and possible solutions to the threat to our planet. He used this opportunity to talk to the president about the topic, and what had been scheduled to be a quick 15-minute chat turned into an hour and a half conversation.
In an interview with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, Trump said of the meeting with the Prince: “He is really into climate change and I think that’s great. I want that, I like that. I totally listened to him.”
So, did any of it sink in? Don’t hold your breath.
When asked directly by Morgan if he believed in climate change, Trump said: “I believe there’s a change in weather, and that it changes both ways,” adding that the US has one of the “cleanest climates” in the world.
He also told Morgan that Prince Charles did most of the talking during the 90-minute chat.
“What he really wants and what he really feels warmly about is the future. He wants to make sure future generations have climate that is good climate, as opposed to a disaster, and I agree.”
However, Trump pushed back against suggestions that the US should be taking more responsibility to tackle the climate crisis, and appeared to confuse climate change with water purity.
“I did mention a couple of things, I did say, ‘Well, the United States right now has among the cleanest climates there are based on all statistics.’ And it’s even getting better,” he told Morgan.
“We want the best water, the cleanest water. It’s crystal clean, has to be crystal clean clear.”
He then went on to blame other countries for not doing their bit.
“China, India, Russia, many other nations, they have not very good air, not very good water, and the sense of pollution [and] cleanliness. If you go to certain cities – I’m not going to name cities, but I can – if you go to certain cities you can’t even breathe. And now that air is going up.
“So if we have it clean, in terms of a planet, we’re talking about a very small distance between China and the US and other countries.”
“They don’t do the responsibility,” said Trump, who pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate mitigation, the only nation on Earth to reject it.
Data shows that nations like India have been catching up with the US in recent years, with China as the current biggest emitter of CO2 and the US second.
After Trump referred to climate change as a “change in weather,” he further demonstrated his lack of understanding of the terminology used in climate science to add:
“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.”
Both terms are in fact used to mean different aspects of the climate crisis. Global warming, or global heating, refers to the long-term trend of increased average global temperature, while climate change refers to changes in the world’s climate resulting from the increase in temperatures, for example, the increase of extreme weather events across the planet, including droughts, changes in rain patterns, an increasing number of tornadoes, and heat waves, among others.