Donald Trump needs to “apply a little bit of common sense” when considering the link between climate change and the devastating hurricanes battering the southern United States, a senior European politician has warned.
Gianni Pittella, leader of the socialist group in the European Parliament, said the world, and in particular the US president, needed to “wake up” to the fact of climate change and the effect it was having on extreme weather.
Mr Trump has previously said he believes climate change to be a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese in order to make American manufacturing uncompetitive.
“I think even Mr Trump has to apply a little bit of common sense here and see what’s going on in his country and in the world,” Mr Pittella told reporters at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
“It’s incredibly important, of course, bearing in mind the dramatic weather events that we’ve seen, that people do need solidarity.
“We have to wake up to what’s going on – and us in Europe need to be the main champions in the fight against climate change and the implementation of the Paris agreement.”
Mr Pittella, from Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party, leads the second largest group in the European Parliament, including MEPs Britain’s Labour Party.
Powerful hurricanes have been battering the Caribbean and southern United States during this year’s hurricane season, with huge evacuations ordered in the US states of Texas and Florida.
Hurricane Irna is the strongest ever hurricane to form in the Atlantic Ocean outside the Gulf of Mexico and Carribean Sea, while the US has seen the highest-ever rainfall total for any Atlantic tropical cyclone in the United States in 2017.
Scientists have pointed out that warming temperatures allow the air to retain more moisture, meaning weather events tend to be more intense when they do occur.
But the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency – a man-made climate change denier appointed by Mr Trump himself – has urged people not to discuss climate change during the catastrophe.
Scott Pruitt said: “To discuss the cause and effect of these storms, there's the... place [and time] to do that, it's not now."
Mr Trump has already started the process of withdrawing the US from the Paris climate change agreement, which was hashed out by world leaders including his predecessor Barack Obama in 2015.