In separate television appearances on October 14, President Donald Trump acknowledged the existence of climate change and his economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, questioned the veracity of a recent international report on the issue.
Trump in the past has suggested that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to hurt the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. But in an interview on CBS's 60 Minutes, he took a stance that is more in line with his Republican counterparts and said he believes in climate change but questions whether it is due to human-related activities. Trump also appeared to indicate that his underlying concern with addressing climate change is that doing so could hurt the U.S. economically.
"I don't think it's a hoax, I think there's probably a difference, but I don't know that it's man-made," Trump said in an interview with journalist Lesley Stahl. "I will say this, I don't want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don't want to lose millions and millions of jobs. I don't want to be put at a disadvantage."
Moreover, Trump said that even though the climate appears to be changing, "it could very well go back, we're talking about over millions of years."
He went on to suggest that more extreme hurricanes have occurred in the past. "They say that we had hurricanes that were far worse than what we just had with Michael," Trump said.
Stahl asked Trump "Who says that? 'They say'?"
Trump's response: "People say. People say that ..."
Stahl noted that scientific reports suggest climate change is getting worse, to which Trump replied, "You'd have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda."
Earlier in the day, ABC News' "This Week" aired an interview with Kudlow in which George Stephanopoulos asked whether Trump is going to do anything about climate change. "The issue here ... is magnitudes and timing," Kudlow said, adding that more research is needed.
He also criticized a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that suggested the world needs to quickly slash carbon dioxide emissions and scale up low-carbon infrastructure investments by 2030 if it hopes to limit and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
"I won't say it's a scare tactic, but I think they overestimate," he said of the report. "We have to be very cognizant of the work that needs to be done," Kudlow said. "I'm not denying any climate change issues, I'm just saying, do we know precisely ... things like how much of it is man-made, how much of it is solar, how much of it is oceanic, how much of it is rain forest and other issues? I think we're still exploring all of that."
Kudlow went on to say, "I don't think we should panic. I don't think there's an imminent catastrophe coming, but I think we should look at this in a level-headed and analytic way."