“Wait, what?”, Grist mockingly asks, in the headline to a post last week that documents Donald Trump’s past support for urgent climate action.
The reality show star and presumptive Republican nominee for U.S. president has been making headlines lately with, among many other things, his position that he’s “not a big believer in man-made climate change”. But in 2009, the day before negotiators gathered in Copenhagen for what would ultimately be a failed attempt at a global climate agreement, Trump and his three adult children signed a full-page ad in the New York Times calling for urgent climate action.
“We support your effort to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate challenge facing the United States and the world today,” said the letter, addressed to President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress. “If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.”
The 2009 ad “also argues that a shift to clean energy ‘will spur economic growth’ and ‘create new energy jobs,’” Grist reports. Within three years, though, Trump had rather drastically changed his tune, claiming in 2012 that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
The ad was organized by businessleaders4environmentalchange.us, a group that has since gone defunct. In 2014, at the request of a Celebrity Apprentice contestant, Trump sent US$5,000 to Protect Our Winters, a climate advocacy nonprofit for skiers and snowboarders. And more recently, his organization hasn’t hesitated to address climate impacts when sea level rise threatened a Trump golf course in Ireland.