Trump keep­ing ‘open mind’ on cli­mate de­bate


US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump said on Tues­day he was keep­ing an open mind on whether to pull out of a land­mark in­ter­na­tional ac­cord to fight cli­mate change, in a soft­en­ing of his stance to­ward global warm­ing.

Trump told the New York Times in an in­ter­view that he thinks there is “some con­nec­tiv­ity” be­tween hu­man ac­tiv­ity and global warm­ing, de­spite pre­vi­ously de­scrib­ing cli­mate change as a hoax.

A source on Trump’s tran­si­tion team told Reuters ear­lier this month that the New York busi­ness­man was seek­ing quick ways to with­draw the United States from the 2015 Paris Agree­ment to com­bat cli­mate change.

But asked on Tues­day whether the United States would with­draw from the ac­cord, the Repub­li­can said: “I’m look­ing at it very closely. I have an open mind to it.”

A US with­drawal from the pact, agreed to by al­most 200 coun­tries, would set back in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to limit ris­ing tem­per­a­tures that have been linked to the ex­tinc­tions of an­i­mals and plants, heat waves, floods and ris­ing sea lev­els.

Trump, who takes of­fice on Jan 20, also said he was think­ing about cli­mate change and American com­pet­i­tive­ness and “how much it will cost our com­pa­nies”, he said, ac­cord­ing to a tweet by a Times reporter in the in­ter­view.

Two peo­ple ad­vis­ing Trump’s tran­si­tion team on en­ergy and en­vi­ron­ment is­sues said they were caught off guard by his re­marks.

A shift on global warm­ing is the lat­est sign Trump might be back­ing away from some of his cam­paign rhetoric as life in the Oval Of­fice ap­proaches.

Trump has said he might have to build a fence, rather than a wall, in some ar­eas of the US-Mex­i­can bor­der to stop il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, tweak­ing one of his sig­na­ture cam­paign prom­ises.

Also in Tues­day’s in­ter­view, he showed lit­tle ap­petite for press­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions of his Demo­cratic ri­val in the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Hil­lary Clin­ton.

“I don’t want to hurt the Clin­tons, I re­ally don’t. She went through a lot and suf­fered greatly in many dif­fer­ent ways,” he told re­porters, ed­i­tors and other news­pa­per of­fi­cials at the Times head­quar­ters in Man­hat­tan.

I don’t want to hurt the Clin­tons, I re­ally don’t.” US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald J. Trump

But Trump said “no” when asked if he would rule out in­ves­ti­gat­ing Clin­ton over her fam­ily’s char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion or her use of a pri­vate email server while she was US sec­re­tary of state dur­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s first term.

If Trump does aban­don his cam­paign vow to ap­point a spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor for Clin­ton, it will be a re­ver­sal of a po­si­tion he men­tioned al­most daily on the cam­paign trail, when he dubbed his ri­val “Crooked Hil­lary”, and crowds at his ral­lies of­ten chanted: “Lock her up.”

The FBI in­ves­ti­gated Clin­ton’s email prac­tices, con­clud­ing in July that her ac­tions were care­less but that there were no grounds for bring­ing charges.

The Clin­ton Foun­da­tion char­ity has also been scru­ti­nized for do­na­tions it re­ceived, but there has been no ev­i­dence that for­eign donors ob­tained fa­vors from the State Depart­ment while Clin­ton headed it.

Trump, a real es­tate de­vel­oper who has never held public of­fice, brushed off fears over con­flicts of in­ter­est be­tween his job as pres­i­dent and his fam­ily’s busi­nesses.

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