President-elect Donald Trump has taken a step back from his previous stance of denying climate change in an interview with The New York Times.
He repeated several times that he had an "open mind" on the US's position as an international leader in taking action against climate change. "I'm going to study a lot of the things that happened on it and we're going to look at it very carefully," he said.
When asked whether he believed in a link between human activity and climate change, he said: "I think there is some connectivity."
Although he did not deny climate change, he did not acknowledge the overwhelming consensus on the science. "It's a very complex subject. I'm not sure anybody is ever going to really know," he said. He said that there was a lot of division on the topic of climate change among "smart people" and "you can make lots of cases for different views".
However, he went on to affirm his stance that American businesses were hampered by environmental regulations to mitigate their impact on the climate. "It depends on how much [connectivity there is]. It also depends on how much it's going to cost our companies. You have to understand, our companies are non-competitive right now."
When asked what he will do about the US's leading position on climate change, Trump told The New York Times: "I'm looking at it very closely... I have an open mind to it." When asked whether he would pull out of the Paris agreement, as he had promised to, he said he would take "a very serious look" at it and "see how much this is costing".
Reuters reported that two advisers to Trump's energy and environment transition team said that they were "caught off guard" by Trump's softer language on climate change. He has previously said that climate change was a hoax by the Chinese.
Earlier this year he claimed that he was not a big believer in climate change.
Trump's retreat from earlier statements is the latest hint that he may take a more nuanced position in office than he committed to on the campaign trail.