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Trump Falsely Says "Nobody Really Knows" What's Causing Climate Change

“I think it’s a big scam for a lot of people to make a lot of money," Trump once said.

Posted on December 11, 2016, at 5:12 p.m. ET

Don Emmert/AFP / Getty Images

In an interview that aired Sunday, President-elect Donald Trump falsely asserted “nobody really knows” what is causing climate change.

Speaking with Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday, Trump said he said he was “open minded” about the science behind climate change, despite previously calling it a "big scam" and "hoax" perpetrated by China.

"I'm very open-minded. I'm still open-minded. Nobody really knows," Trump told Wallace, before continuing: “Look, I'm somebody that gets it and nobody really knows. It's not something that's so hard and fast.”

In fact, the overwhelming majority of reputable climate scientists (at least 97%, according to one 2009 study) say human-made climate change is real and dangerous — a view supported even by figures like ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Trump's reported choice for secretary of state.

Trump told Wallace he was certain that countries like China and Mexico, who he said aren’t hampered by environmental regulations, are more productive than the US. (Both China and Mexico have ratified the UN's Paris Agreement on climate change).

“I do know this: other countries are eating our lunch,” said Trump. “If you look at what China's doing. If you look at what — I could name country after country. You look at what's happening in Mexico where our people are just — plants are being built and they don’t wait 10 years to get an approval to build a plant, okay? They build it like the following day or the following week.”

"We can't let all of these permits that take forever to get stop our jobs," he said.

While Trump would not say exactly what he do with regard to the controversial Keystone pipeline or the Paris Climate Agreement, he did tell Wallace that he planned to take action very quickly when he takes office.

"Now, Paris, I'm studying," he said. "I do say this. I don't want that agreement to put us at a competitive disadvantage with other countries. 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."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.