Trump: ‘Nobody really knows’ if climate change is real

FILE: Donald Trump speaking at the 1st Presidential Debate at Hofstra University, New York on September 26, 2016.

By Caroline Kenny

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The reality of climate change is an open question, President-elect Donald Trump said in an interview aired Sunday.

“Nobody really knows” if climate change is real, Trump said in the “Fox News Sunday” interview, when host Chris Wallace asked the incoming President where he stands on the environment.

“I’m still open-minded. Nobody really knows. Look, I’m somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows. It’s not something that’s so hard and fast.”

Trump told Wallace he is studying whether the United States should withdraw from its commitment to limit environmental output made at the Paris summit last year.

“Now, Paris, I’m studying. I do say this. I don’t want that agreement to put us at a competitive disadvantage with other countries,” Trump said. “And as you know, there are different times and different time limits on that agreement. I don’t want that to give China, or other countries signing agreements an advantage over us.”

On the campaign trail, Trump called climate change a “hoax” that is being pushed by China, but in recent weeks has showed a growing interest in looking into issue. His daughter, Ivanka, has spoken publicly about taking on the issue as one of her platforms and Trump has met with notable environmentalists, including former Vice President Al Gore and actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

However, Trump named Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as his choice for head of the Environmental Protection Agency, though Pruitt is a climate change doubter who is currently suing the EPA.

Trump defended his selection of Pruitt by blasting the current state of the EPA, saying businesses don’t want invest in the United States because there are too many regulations, which Pruitt will help loosen.

“If you look at what — I could name country after country. You look at what’s happening in Mexico, where our people are just — plants are being built, and they don’t wait 10 years to get an approval to build a plant, okay?” he said. “They build it like the following day or the following week. We can’t let all of these permits that take forever to get stop our jobs.”

After noting that Trump has appointed many Cabinet positions and department heads with people who are opposed to what their respective agencies have been doing in recent years, Wallace asked Trump if he was “going to take a wrecking ball to the Obama legacy.”

Trump responded by saying, “No. No. No. I don’t want to do that at all. I just want what’s right.”