“I think there is some connectivity. Some, something. It depends on how much,” Donald Trump told New York Times reporters about the link between human activity and climate change. Trump’s admittedly soft admission on emissions is an about-face for the President-elect, who has called climate change a “hoax” in the past. The new statement leaves plenty of ambiguity, but the acknowledgement puts Trump on the same page as most scientists — though not all of them.
The “depends on how much” aspect of his answer will be the critical element in the Trump administration’s climate-concerned decisions. It’s a hot issue, no pun intended, as this week it was revealed that ExxonMobil is accusing the Rockefellers — the company’s founding family — of misconduct for claiming it hid its knowledge of global warming from the public, a charge ExxonMobil characterizes as a conspiracy. (It’s a dizzying public relations battle with the earth in the balance: as Aretha Franklin might ask, who’s zoomin’ who?) Trump’s uncertainty about “how much” human activity can be directly related to climate change is likely to be commensurate with “how much” his administration does to tackle the problem. Will Trump lean toward ExxonMobil or the Rockefellers?