Donald Trump has re-ignited his feud with teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg – at the same time as saying he would have “loved” to hear her speak at Davos.
The US president urged Ms Thunberg, 17, whose campaigning has inspired millions across the world, to focus on other countries rather than the US, which he insisted was “clean and beautiful” and where “everything is good”.
“Our numbers are very good, our environmental numbers. Our water numbers, our numbers on the air are tremendous,” he told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“We have to do something about other continents and other countries,” he said, despite the US being responsible for more cumulative carbon emissions than any other nation.
“We have a beautiful ocean called the Pacific Ocean where thousands of tonnes of garbage flows towards us, put there by other countries, so Greta needs to work on them,” he added.
Asked about Ms Ms Thunberg’s scathing critique of his climate record on Tuesday, Mr Trump asked: “How old is she?”
Told her age, the president said: “Oh, that’s good. She beat me out on Time magazine.”
The Swedish teenager was named Time’s Person of the Year for 2019, ahead of Mr Trump, who was on the shortlist.
Pressed further on the activist’s climate message, Mr Trump said: “I would have loved to have seen her speak. I did not.”
Ms Thunberg’s call for urgent climate action was, he said, “unrealistic to a point you can’t live your lives”.
On Tuesday, the US president called those asking for more action on climate change “perennial prophets of doom” and the “heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers”.
The teenage activist was among those watching, having earlier warned that planting one trillion trees, the main commitment launched at the event, was “nowhere near enough”.
It comes after Mr Trump unilaterally pledged to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Accord, which aims to cut CO2 emissions to a rate that will limit global warming to 1.5C.
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