U.S. President Donald Trump, responding to a question about climate change after skipping a Group of Seven summit session on the issue in France, said on Monday that American wealth is based on energy and he will not jeopardize that for “dreams and windmills”.
The Republican president skipped a session on climate change and biodiversity at the summit, instead holding bilateral meetings.
Trump also did not attend a G7 meeting in which leaders discussed the rainforest fires in Brazil and agreed to draw up an initiative for the Amazon to be launched at the U.N. General Assembly in New York next month. French President Emmanuel Macron downplayed Trump’s absence.
Trump then sought to portray himself as an environmentalist at a news conference at the close of the Group of Seven summit, He referred to himself as an environmentalist, noting that he had filled out so many environmental impact statements as part of his work as a real estate developer.
“I want the cleanest water on Earth. I want the cleanest air on Earth. And that’s what we’re doing. And I’m an environmentalist, a lot of people don’t understand that. I have done more environmental impact statements probably than anybody that’s … ever been president. And I think I know more about the environment than most people,” Trump told reporters.
Environmental activists heaped scorn on Trump’s remarks. “Trump’s phony brand of ‘environmentalism’ means gutting the Endangered Species Act, bowing down to polluting industries, and denying climate change while the world burns,” Travis Nichols, a Greenpeace USA spokesman, said in a statement.
In 2017, Trump pulled the United States out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord involving nearly 200 countries, and has described global warming as a “hoax.”