The fight against climate change will continue with or without U.S. support, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) chief said Wednesday. Erik Solheim, however, added that senior U.S. politicians denying the science behind global warming was worrisome. Solheim, the executive director of UNEP, said in an interview with Reuters that he is not concerned about President-elect Donald Trump picking oil industry executives to fill up his cabinet posts but concerned about "elite American politicians" denying science. "However, I am concerned that some elite American politicians deny science. You will be in the Middle Ages if you deny science," he said when responding to a question about Trump's cabinet picks.
President-elect Donald Trump has spent the past few days tapping climate-change deniers and fossil fuel executives to fill his presidential cabinet. But on Sunday, he said he was "open-minded" about climate science, claiming falsely that "nobody really knows" what's happening to the planet. "I've -- look, I'm somebody that gets it," Trump told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace in a taped interview. SEE ALSO: Donald Trump's anti-climate science shakedown just started Wallace noted earlier that Trump called climate change "a hoax" during his presidential campaign, although in the interview the two men refer only to "the environment." The Fox News host pointed out that Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency -- Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt -- is suing the EPA to quash its landmark climate regulations.
President-elect Donald Trump's skepticism over climate change was further reiterated when he said on Sunday that "nobody really knows" whether climate change is real, adding that he was assessing whether the United States should withdraw from international agreements that may harm its competitive markets. The top 10 hottest years on record have all been after 1998. This year is expected to be the hottest year since formal record-keeping began in 1880 and a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that it is "extremely likely" that humans and greenhouse gas emissions -- from burning of fossil fuels for transportation or industrial manufacturing, among others -- have been the "dominant cause" of the planet's warming since the 1950s. Trump, however, has continuously disregarded that established scientific view on the topic. The president-elect has not come to a decision on the reality of climate change but voiced concerns regarding President Barack Obama's efforts to cut carbon emissions, which in turn have affected the country's global competitiveness, he said in an interview with "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace.
President-elect Donald Trump left the door open Sunday on how exactly he plans to overhaul the regulation-heavy agenda pursued by the Obama administration, suggesting he wouldn't dismantle all that his predecessor has done – while making clear the government needs to be more business-friendly. Asked in an exclusive interview with "Fox News Sunday" whether he'd take a "wrecking ball" to President Obama's legacy, the construction magnate responded: I don't want to do that at all. I just want what's right." The answer may have surprised those watching Trump's recent Cabinet selections, which have included: a prominent ObamaCare critic to lead the Health and Human Services Department; a foe of Obama's overtime pay expansion to lead the Labor Department; and a state attorney general currently suing the Environmental Protection Agency to lead that very agency. Trump, at the same time, has sent mixed signals about his plans, meeting in recent days with prominent climate change activists Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, seated left, signing an order withdrawing federal protections for countless waterways and wetlands, as Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Rickey "RD" James, seated right, looks on, at EPA headquarters in Washington on Tuesday. Among those looking on from behind are Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Ross, R-Kansas, left, and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, second from right. The Trump administration on Tuesday took some of the final steps to end an Obama-era policy that placed thousands of miles of waterways under federal regulation, clearing the way for new economic development even as environmental activists have promised legal challenges. The Obama administration had categorized small streams and tributaries -- as well as creeks, washes, ditches and ponds that exist only during rains -- as "waters of the United States" that were subject to federal jurisdiction. However, the Trump administration, which has long characterized that policy as an overreach, is now set to restrict federal oversight primarily to major waterways and wetlands connected to another federally protected waterway.