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US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin: Let's not call it climate change

The Trump administration will drop the mic at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos by once again downplaying climate change.

“Let’s call it an environmental issue and not climate change,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on a panel Friday at WEF. Mnuchin was asked how climate change — a key theme at this year’s WEF —would impact the global economy moving forward. “It’s one of many important issues,” Mnuchin said, adding that he believes technological advances over the next 30 years may help to solve climate-related challenges.

Mnuchin pointed to health and national security issues as equally as important as economic risks from changes in climate. He also cited concerns about oil prices potentially spiking to $120 a barrel.

In a heated exchange with European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, Mnuchin said experts are overestimating the financial impact of climate change.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the International Monetary Fund IMF Governors group photo at the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington, Saturday, April 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the International Monetary Fund IMF Governors group photo at the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington, Saturday, April 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

On Thursday, Mnuchin dismissed climate activist’s Greta Thunberg’s call for private and public sector divestment from fossil fuel companies, telling Yahoo Finance at a press briefing: “After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us.”

Mnuchin also said, joking about the 17-year-old climate activist: “Who is that? Is she the chief economist?”

Yahoo Finance’s Max Zahn contributed to this story.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Watch The First Trade each day here at 9:00 a.m. ET. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

More from Davos

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Saudi Aramco Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan: 'We are confident in our investment story'

Going climate neutral will cost trillions of dollars: Credit Suisse CEO

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