President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for interior secretary, Montana Representative Ryan Zinke, declared during his confirmation hearing this week that he does not “believe (climate change) is a hoax,” distancing himself a bit from what Trump has said about the phenomenon.
Zinke seemed to disagree with what Trump said in 2012 that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” but he is not 100 percent on board with the declarations climate scientists have made. Zinke agreed that the climate is changing, and that people are a large contributor to it, but he also said that “there’s debate” over the extent of that contribution.
Asked if he would allow fossil fuel resources to be developed on public lands, Zinke answered that, “we have to have an economy.” Senator Bernie Sanders that added, “I’ll take that as a yes, there will be fossil development on public lands.”
Senator Al Franken later referred to a 2010 letter in which Zinke said that climate change was a serious threat that needed immediate action. Franken asked if Zinke still believes in what was written in the letter.
Zinke answered, “I want to be honest with you. We both agree that the climate’s changing. We both agree that man is an influence.”
“A major influence,” Democrat Franken stated.
“I’m not an expert in this field,” Zinke retorted.
Franken then said, “To me that’s a cop-out. I’m not a doctor but I have to make healthcare decisions.”