On Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump seemed to soften his stance on climate change. As we’ve reported before, he’s called it a hoax invented by the Chinese, and pledged to renege on the US’s commitments under the Paris climate agreement. Yet when asked by a New York Times reporter about his stance this week, he hedged on whether human activity could be connected to climate change, saying, “I think right now … well, I think there is some connectivity. There is some, something. It depends on how much.”
Trump went on to say that he would be keeping an “open mind” about the Paris accord, seeming to completely contradict his campaign promises to withdraw from the treaty. He emphasized his belief that the agreement would render US companies noncompetitive and referenced the 2009 “Climategate” email scandal in an attempt to discredit the science behind global warming. (While some of the emails involved certainly didn’t show individual scientists in the best light, it’s worth noting that fact-checking organizations have found the claim that these emails prove manmade global warming to be a hoax are unfounded.)
This isn’t the first campaign statement he’s attempted to walk back since the election. During the Times interview, he also seemed to lose his enthusiasm for prosecuting Hillary Clinton for her private email server. He even dialed back his support of torture tactics like waterboarding in the fight against ISIS, along with his proposal to completely scrap the Affordable Care Act. And while Trump himself hasn’t abandoned the idea of building a massive border wall with Mexico, Congressional Republicans are beginning to question whether it would really be a practical national security measure.
Related: China to Trump: Climate change is not a hoax
While the fact that he seems to be moderating his more extreme promises could be seen by some as a promising sign, the fact that his policies are shifting so quickly isn’t likely to make progressives feel relaxed or secure any time soon. After all, this is a politician who has been recorded blatantly lying throughout his campaign. Who’s to say any of these supposed changes of heart are actually true?
Via the Washington Post