Trump clueless on climate breakdown

Donald Trump, president of the United States, demonstrates a complete absence of any understanding of climate change.

He wants to make sure future generations have climate that is good climate, as opposed to a disaster, and I agree.

President Donald Trump has defended his environmental record as he was pressed on criticism levelled by his Irish counterpart Michael D Higgins.

The Irish president branded Mr Trump's stance on climate change as "regressive and pernicious" in a speech delivered only 24 hours before he arrived in Ireland for his first presidential visit.

Mr Trump was asked about Mr Higgins' remarks as he faced press questions at Shannon Airport on Wednesday. "I haven't heard those comments," he replied.

Demonstration

"But we have the cleanest air in the world in the United States and it's gotten better since I became president, we have the cleanest water, it is crystal clear, I always say I want crystal clear water and air, so I haven't heard his comments, but we are setting records environmentally."

In a speech in Dublin on Tuesday night, Mr Higgins criticised the US decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate change accord.

"While the EU has a set of binding emissions targets for 2020 and 2030, we must now plan for full decarbonisation of our European economies by 2050, encouraging the rest of the world to follow suit, and urging in the strongest possible terms the USA to re-consider its regressive and pernicious decision to leave the global Paris Agreement," he said.

A number of environmental protesters held a demonstration outside the airport as Mr Trump and his wife Melania landed on Wednesday.

The President held talks with Irish premier Leo Varadkar on arrival. Afterwards, Mr Varadkar was asked about the climate change issue.

Future

The Taoiseach said Ireland was determined to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement even if the US is withdrawing. He said climate change was something every country in the world should act together on or they would not be able to stop it.

"That is why the countries like the US and China have to be part of this as much as small countries like Ireland," he said. Mr Varadkar conceded that Ireland was still playing catch up in terms of meeting its climate obligations.

"I would rather be in a position of strength, I would like us to do more to meet our 2030 targets so that we can be in a stronger position to say to other countries that they should too," he said.

Trump met with Prince Charles for 90 minutes during his visit to the UK to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-day landings and the conversation also turned to climate change. 

Trump said during a television interview: “He is really into climate change and I think that’s great. 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.”

Passion

He went on: “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 because I agree with that we want the best water, the cleanest water. It’s crystal clean, has to be crystal clean clear.”

Trump added: “China, India, Russia, many other nations, they have not very good air, not very good water, and the sense of pollution. If you go to certain cities … you can’t even breathe, and now that air is going up … They don’t do the responsibility.”

He was then asked if he accepted the science relating to climate change: “I believe there’s a change in weather, and I think it changes both ways. 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.”

Trump did not say whether the conversation with Prince Charles has influenced him, and concluded only: “I’ll tell you what moved me is his passion for future generations.”

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