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Did Trump Just Change His Mind on Climate Change?

During an on-the-record meeting with editors and reporters at the New York Times, Donald Trump said he has an "an open mind" with regards to climate change science and policies.

"It's one issue that's interesting because there are few things where there's more division than climate change," he told the assembled staff. While Trump said he believed "there is some connectivity" between human activity and climate change, he also claimed "a lot of smart people disagree" with the idea, mentioning that "the hottest day ever was in 1890-something." (2016 is currently on track to be the hottest year ever recorded).

"Talk is cheap, and no one should believe Donald Trump means this until he acts upon it," Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said.

"We're waiting for action, and Trump is kidding nobody on climate as he simultaneously stacks his transition team and cabinet with climate science deniers and the dirtiest hacks the fossil fuel industry can offer. Prove it, President-elect. The world is watching."

As for climate policies, Trump reiterated his belief in the importance of clean air and water and alluded that U.S. climate action "depends on how much it will cost our companies." Two transition team advisors on energy and environment told Reuters they were "caught off guard by his remarks." Trump's transition team appointees and rumored cabinet picks mostly consist of figures with deep ties to the fossil fuel industry, many of whom deny human-made climate change and advocate for pulling out of the Paris agreement.

"Actions speak louder than words," May Boeve, 350.org executive director, said.

"As long as Trump has a climate change denier like Myron Ebell running his transition team, you know this is all a bunch of empty rhetoric. If Trump is changing is tune, maybe it's because he's realized that far more Americans support climate action than voted for him in this election. The public is clamoring for a renewable energy economy that will create millions of jobs while saving our planet. Instead of delivering, Trump is going on about fantasies like 'clean coal' and flip-flopping around on whether there's 'some connectivity' between humans and climate change. The president-elect needs to get up to speed, and fast."

For a deeper dive:

News: New York Times, Climate Home, Huffington Post, CNN, Reuters, LA Times, The Hill, Hollywood Life, NPR, Politico, Gizmodo, New York Post, Morning Consult, The Atlantic, Independent, New York Magazine, Guardian

Commentary: Washington Post, Philip Bump column; Guardian, George Monbiot column; Slate, Will Oremus column

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

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