Former President Barack Obama said he couldn’t have a debate with someone who thinks man-made global warming is a hoax while speaking at a summit in India on Friday.
Obama is in India as part of a three-country tour to promote the Obama Foundation. It’s the first speech Obama has made in India since leaving office earlier this year.
“I can sit down with someone and have an argument about about climate change, and in fact when we were working on the Paris Accords … there were some folks within the Indian government who would say to me ‘look we’re a poor country our priority has to be getting power and electricity to poor people and so we should not have to do X Y Z’, and I said ‘well I understand that,'” Obama said at a summit in New Delhi.
Obama added that “it’s hard to have a conversation if somebody says ‘well climate change is a hoax.'”
“I don’t know what to do with that,” Obama said, adding that “if you’re saying it’s a hoax, then there’s no way for us to bridge our differences in a constructive way.”
Obama referenced his unwillingness to speak with man-made global warming disbelievers in a town hall session with young Indians later that same day.
“I could have a discussion with somebody who says, ‘okay, yeah, there is climate change, but it is more important to alleviate poverty and get electricity to people so we should use coal, it is cheaper,'” Obama said.
“I have trouble with a conversation with somebody that says the climate is not changing,” Obama continued. “You know, that becomes almost like a theological argument. It just has to do with somebody has decided this is what I believe as opposed to looking at evidence and facts and the process of reasoning that signifies things like the scientific revolution.”
Obama also made veiled jabs at President Donald Trump, including noting how many more Twitter followers he had than the current White House occupant despite using the social media platform less.
Obama also said there was a “pause in American leadership” related to fighting global warming without actually coming out and saying he was talking about Trump’s plans to withdraw from the Paris accord.
“It’s an agreement, even though we have a little bit of a pause in American leadership, that is giving our children a fighting chance,” Obama said.
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