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White House: Trump's Views On Climate Are 'Evolving'

According to top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, President Donald Trump's ideas on climate change are "evolving" as he meets with world leaders in Italy during his first overseas trip in office.

"He feels much more knowledgeable on the topic today," Cohn said on May 26, according to The Associated Press. "He came here to learn, he came here to get smarter."

A number of European leaders, including those from Italy, Britain, France, Germany, Canada and Japan, are urging the president to keep the U.S. in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, a pact that almost 200 nations have made to cut back on carbon emissions.

According to Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, the U.S agreed to "a period of reflection" on their next move regarding the Paris accord, a deal Trump vowed to scrap during his campaign.

"They were encouraging continued participation in the Paris accord," said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said. "We had a good exchange on the difficulty of balancing climate change, responses to climate change and ensuring that you still have a thriving economy, you still offer people jobs so they can feed their families and have a prosperous economy. That's a difficult balancing act."

The Trump administration is looking into the details of the Paris agreement to determine how binding it is and whether the terms are feasible, said Cohn.

When Trump visited the Vatican, Pope Francis gifted to him a 183-page Papal document from 2015 that discusses the issue of global warming and warns against the dangers of ignoring the science backing up the idea that humans have contributed to rising temperatures across the planet, notes the BBC.

"Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods," reads the letter, according to the BBC. "It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day."

Trump has not always been open on the issue, however.

"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," he tweeted in 2012.

The president has also called climate change a "hoax" designed to raise taxes.

"I am not a great believer in man-made climate change," Trump said in a March 2016 interview with The Washington Post. "I'm not a great believer. There is certainly a change in weather -- if you look, they had global cooling in the 1920s and now they have global warming, although now they don't know if they have global warming. They call it all sorts of different things; now they're using 'extreme weather' I guess more than any other phrase."

Sources: AP, BBC, Donald Trump/Twitter, The Washington Post / Photo Credit: Michael Vadon/Flickr

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