President Donald Trump addressed a crowd at the Economic Club of New York this week, talking about everything from trade to the border wall to climate change, claiming of the latter that he’s “very much into climate.”
On Tuesday, the president was asked about climate change by an audience member and went into a rant about how the issue isn’t just America’s problem.
“Climate change is a very complex issue,” said Trump.
“I consider myself in many ways to be an environmentalist.” he added.
Trump explained that as a builder he did “the best environmental impact statements” and that the Paris climate accord, the historic global deal to cut climate-changing emissions, would’ve put America out of business.
“It would have been a catastrophe,” said Trump, who went on to say: “I’m very much into climate, but I want the cleanest air on the planet.”
His rant continued with a complaint that America is just a small piece of land in comparison to countries like China or Russia, which he said aren’t doing anything. Trump then suggested that environmentalists, specifically Democrats, are “loco” for talking about their fears in relation to climate change.
Trump also said that the bigger risk to the country is the election.
“I think the biggest risk is the election ... It’s going to be something very important for all of you,” he said.
The statements about the Paris agreement are a reiteration of previous statements from Trump, who announced in June 2017 that the United States would exit the climate deal, which aims to limit global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“I withdrew the United States from the terrible, one-sided Paris climate accord,” said Trump in an appearance at a gas conference last month. “It was a total disaster for our country.”
His appearance at the Economic Club comes on the heels of the administration beginning the formal process of withdrawing the country from the agreement last week.
As of Nov. 4, any country within the pact was officially eligible to start the paperwork needed to pull out; as per a statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued that day, the United States has officially begun the yearlong process of formally exiting. The withdrawal is slated to officially go into effect on Nov. 4, 2020, just one day after the presidential election.