President-elect Donald Trump, seen here in the lobby of Trump Tower on Tuesday, said "nobody really knows" whether or not climate change is real, despite the fact that the vast majority climate scientists say climate change is real and humans contribute to it. Pool Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- President-elect Donald Trump said though he is "open-minded," climate change is up for debate because "nobody really knows" if it is real.
Trump made the comment during an interview on Fox News Sunday during which he was asked where he stood on the environment.
"I'm still open-minded. Nobody really knows. Look, I'm somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows. It's not something that's so hard and fast," Trump said.
In the past, Trump has said be believes climate change is a "hoax" created by China to undermine U.S. business interests.
"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," Trump tweeted in 2012.
The majority of climate scientists agree that climate change is a real problem and that humans are contributing to global warming.
Trump said he is "studying" the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference Paris agreement to determine whether the United States should withdraw from the accord.
"Now, Paris, I'm studying. I do say this. I don't want that agreement to put us at a competitive disadvantage with other countries," Trump said. "And as you know, there are different times and different time limits on that agreement. I don't want that to give China, or other countries signing agreements an advantage over us."
Last week, Trump named Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as his choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency during his administration. Pruitt has denied the existence of climate change and is currently suing the EPA.
Trump said Pruitt will help loosen regulations to encourage businesses to invest in the United States.
The president-elect has also met with former Vice President Al Gore to discuss climate change. Gore said he found the meeting with Trump to be productive and interesting.