Donald Trump concedes that maybe – just maybe – humans might be warming the planet after all

Of all the potential losers from 8 November’s presidential election, the planet was probably the biggest. And if you’re under the age of 50, that probably means you lose by proxy. Donald Trump has been an avid and consistent denier of climate change over the years – here are 53 tweets in which he mocked the concept – and although he has flip-flopped on a lot of positions, his denial of science hasn’t been one.

Donald Trump concedes that maybe – just maybe – humans might be warming the planet after all

Until now.

It’s baby steps, but in an on-the-record chat, his long-term advisory The New York Times (Trump can’t resist but insert the word “failing” before in front of the paper’s name on Twitter, following its persistent scrutiny of him during the election) managed to elicit a response that maybe – just maybe – humans have something to do with the changing climate after all.

Progress! Hold your horses, though. He’s leader of one of the few political parties in the world that doesn’t believe in anthropogenic climate change. That means that even if Trump is genuine in his change of mind – and again, here are 53 tweets that suggest he isn’t – the chances of him actually doing anything about it are pretty slim.

Indeed, when pressed on whether this meant he wouldn’t follow through with his threat to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Trump was even less clear:

Well, that’s not ruling out playing along I guess…

There it is.

I can’t help feeling that Trump says whatever the audience he is in front of wants to hear at any given time – compare his speech when visiting Mexico to his previous comments about Mexican immigrants for example – and this will most likely be a simple nod towards climate change before doing very little about it.

That’s politics as usual, to a degree. George W Bush will be remembered as a president who didn’t do a great deal to tackle the problem, but even he paid lip service to it during the second presidential debate with Al Gore, saying that he took climate change “very seriously”, before adding “But science, there’s a lot – there’s differing opinions. And before we react, I think it’s best to have the full accounting, full understanding of what’s taking place.”

I suspect what you’re seeing here is good, old-fashioned hot air. Just what the world needs more of as we head inexorably towards a 2˚C temperature rise.

UPDATE: There we go. Trump has announced that he’ll be cutting NASA’s research into climate change as part of a crackdown on what his spokespeople refer to as “politicised science.” 

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