Trump's response to climate change at G-7: More drilling

President Trump called himself “an environmentalist” while boasting about American oil and gas production at the G-7 summit in France on Monday. His answer came in response to a question about whether he believes in the reality of climate change, which he has previously described as a hoax.

He didn’t answer the question.

“In a nutshell, I want the cleanest water on earth. I want the cleanest air on earth,” Trump said at the end of a press conference before leaving the stage. “I’m an environmentalist. A lot of people don’t understand that. I’ve done more environmental impact statements ... than anybody that’s ever been president or vice president or anything even close to president.”

Environmental impact statements are required for most large development projects, such as building golf courses.

President Donald Trump gestures during a press conference on the third and final day of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, Aug. 26, 2019. (Photo: Markus Schreiber/AP)

The United States does not have the cleanest air and water on earth. The president frequently makes this claim, which conflates traditional measures of pollution with greenhouse gas emissions, the cause of global warming.

“I feel that the United States has tremendous wealth, the wealth is under its feet. I’ve made that wealth come alive,” he said. “I’m not gonna lose that wealth on dreams, on windmills, which frankly aren’t working too well.”

Trump boasted about opening up the previously untouched Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling after decades of political controversy.

With over half of the world’s new oil and gas pipelines located in North America, more drilling could “deliver a major blow to efforts to slow climate change,” according to Global Energy Monitor.

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President Trump and Melania depart for G7 Summit
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President Trump and Melania depart for G7 Summit
US President Donald Trump (R) waves flanked by wife US and First Lady Melania Trump as they disembark from an airplane upon landing at the Biarritz Pays Basque Airport in Biarritz, south-west France, on August 24, 2019, on the first day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. (Photo by Adrià Salido Zarco/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) and his wife US and First Lady Melania Trump disembark from an airplane upon landing at the Biarritz Pays Basque Airport in Biarritz, south-west France, on August 24, 2019, on the first day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. (Photo by Adrià Salido Zarco/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump waves as they disembark from an airplane upon landing at the Biarritz Pays Basque Airport in Biarritz, south-west France, on August 24, 2019, on the first day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. (Photo by Adrià Salido Zarco/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) waves flanked by wife US and First Lady Melania Trump as they disembark from an airplane upon landing at the Biarritz Pays Basque Airport in Biarritz, south-west France, on August 24, 2019, on the first day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. (Photo by Adrià Salido Zarco/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) and his wife US and First Lady Melania Trump disembark from an airplane upon landing at the Biarritz Pays Basque Airport in Biarritz, south-west France, on August 24, 2019, on the first day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. (Photo by Adrià Salido Zarco/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and his wife US and First Lady Melania Trump disembark from an airplane upon landing at the Biarritz Pays Basque Airport in Biarritz, south-west France, on August 24, 2019, on the first day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. (Photo by Adrià Salido Zarco/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and his wife US and First Lady Melania Trump disembark from an airplane upon landing at the Biarritz Pays Basque Airport in Biarritz, south-west France, on August 24, 2019, on the first day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. (Photo by Adrià Salido Zarco/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump depart the White House in Washington, DC, on August 23, 2019, for the G7 Summit in France. (Photo by Alastair Pike / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and his wife First Lady Melania Trump board Air Force One on their way to the G7 Summit in France, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland on August 23, 2019. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) and First Lady Melania Trump (L) speak on Marine One as they depart the White House in Washington, DC, on August 23, 2019, for the G7 Summit in France. (Photo by Alastair Pike / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) and First Lady Melania Trump (L) speak on Marine One as they depart the White House in Washington, DC, on August 23, 2019, for the G7 Summit in France. (Photo by Alastair Pike / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, aboard Marine One, depart the White House in Washington, DC, on August 23, 2019, for the G7 Summit in France. (Photo by Alastair Pike / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images)
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“I think I know more about the environment than most people,” said Trump, who in 2017 announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement to globally reduce greenhouse gas emissions and was the only world leader who did not appear at the G-7 meeting on climate change over the weekend.

Last year, the world’s leading climate scientists released a report for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warning that globally, humans have until 2030 to cut carbon pollution and avoid the damaging effects of global warming like rising water levels and devastating storms.

Meanwhile, Trump has suggested that “we nuke” hurricanes headed toward the U.S.

“I want clear air. I want clean water. I want a wealthy country. I want a spectacular country with jobs, with pensions, with so many things,” Trump said.

But, he continued, “at the same time, it’s very important to me we have to maintain this incredible place that we’ve all built. We’ve become a much richer country. And that’s a good thing, not a bad thing, because that great wealth allows us to take care of people. We can take care of people that we couldn’t have taken care in the past.

“We can’t let that great wealth be taken away,” Trump added.

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