CBSN

Trump says "I have a natural instinct for science" that explains doubts on climate change

Last Updated Oct 17, 2018 12:04 PM EDT

President Trump defended his stance on climate change in an interview with the Associated Press Tuesday, after telling CBS' "60 Minutes" that climate change could "change back." Mr. Trump suggested he understands climate science because he possesses a "natural instinct for science."

Mr. Trump told Lesley Stahl on "60 Minutes" he isn't sure climate change is manmade, but "something's changing and it'll change back again." Pressed about those comments in an interview with the AP, the president said he wants clean air and water, but doesn't want to "sacrifice the economic well-being of our country for something that nobody really knows." 

"And you have scientists on both sides of the issue. And I agree the climate changes, but it goes back and forth, back and forth. So we'll see," the president said. 

Despite the president's protestations, there is little dispute among climate scientists around the world, who warn that climate change could be nearing a point where trends cannot be reversed. Earlier this month, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a major report warning that the planet would face catastrophe in the near future if the phenomenon is not addressed. 

When the AP brought up the consensus of scientists, however, the president responded by saying that other scientists agreed with him. 

"No, no. Some say that and some say differently," Mr. Trump said. "I mean, you have scientists on both sides of it. My uncle was a great professor at MIT for many years, Dr. John Trump. And I didn't talk to him about this particular subject, but I have a natural instinct for science, and I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture."

The president studied at Fordham University and then at the Wharton School of Finance the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in economics. 

Mr. Trump has often cast environmental concerns in economic terms. Under the Trump administration, the Environmental Protection Agency has rolled back significant environmental regulations that the agency says posed an unnecessary burden on the economy. 

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.