Fact Check

Did President Donald Trump Sign an Executive Order on Climate Change?

A story appearing to report that Trump planned a 20 percent cut in U.S. carbon emissions by 2022 was completely fabricated.

Published Feb 1, 2017

 (JStone / Shutterstock)
Image Via JStone / Shutterstock
Donald Trump signed an executive order naming climate change as a threat "both to the economy and national security."

On 1 February 2017, a CNN impostor site published an article about an alleged reversal of course on environmental issues by President Donald Trump:

Early this morning, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order that has pundits on both sides of the aisle in a state of disbelief. Executive Order 756843, signed by the President at 2:45 a.m. EST, declares that climate change is an immediate threat both to the economy and to national security. It directs government agencies to develop action plans to reduce their carbon footprints and reverses a previous order by Trump that was intended to encourage the development of two controversial pipeline projects. It also lifts the gag order that Trump had placed on government scientists and directs congress to pass legislation aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the U.S. by 20 percent over the next five years.

“I have a very wonderful brain,” Trump told reporters during an impromptu press conference. “I mean, it’s really fantastic, but I am also a very busy and an important man. So even when you have a brain as good as mine, the best brain, the greatest brain, you sometimes miss things. I’ve spoken with some of the top scientists here in Washington, and let me tell you, I trust these guys. They showed me without a doubt that climate change is real and and we need to do something about it now. Even the best brain, a brain such as mine, can sometimes be wrong.”

Trump tweeted his new stance this morning on climate change by stating, “Climate change is real folks, get on board the Trump train with this one!”

There was no truth to this story, which originated with a clickbait fake news site that illegally appropriates the trademarks of legitimate news organizations in order to generate advertising revenue.

The fake article appears to report that Trump's order revoked a prior (real) directive, which barred the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the departments of the Interior, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture from external communications.

According to the article, Trump's order would also direct Congress to pass legislation that would lead to a 20 percent reduction in U.S. carbon emissions by 2022. In fact, President Trump signed no such order.

In an especially striking contrast, the fake article also cited a tweet from a fake Trump account supporting the "order," then followed it up with one from the president's actual account in the very next paragraph, as seen below:


Davenport, Coral. "Federal Agencies Told to Halt External Communications." The New York Times. 25 January 2017.

Arturo Garcia is a former writer for Snopes.