Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of state, admitted Wednesday during his Senate confirmation hearing that the "risk of climate change does exist." "The consequences of it could be serious enough that action should be taken," Tillerson said, when asked to clarify his personal point of view on climate change.
While Tillerson admitted the reality of climate change, he dodged answering questions about whether humans are contributing to it. He said that although the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere is "having an effect," "our ability to predict that effect is very limited."
Tillerson's comments about climate change came amid questions of how his previous ties to ExxonMobil would weigh on his duties as secretary of state. Tillerson said he would recuse himself from decisions directly involving ExxonMobil and would not give the company's new CEO preferential treatment. However, he said he "would not expect to have to recuse" himself from broader decisions involving oil and gas.