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Thanks to France’s surging far right, Nicolas Sarkozy has come out as a climate truther.

(Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

If the Burkini ban weren’t enough to signal France’s rightward drift, Sarkozy, the former president hoping to reclaim the office in elections in 2017, announced this week that he doesn’t believe climate change is caused by man.

Sarkozy told a panel of business leaders:

“Climate has been changing for four billion years. Sahara has become a desert, it isn’t because of industry. You need to be as arrogant as men are to believe we changed the climate.”

Sarkozy said he felt there was too much attention paid to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and not enough to the Paris terrorist attack (because apparently the 24-hour coverage of the event and its aftermath wasn’t enough). He also told journalists that politics should be less focused on climate and more on “the rise of the population and movement of people,” a clear nod to the anti-immigration forces in his country.

Sarkozy is in the process of seeking Les Républicains’ nomination for president, while preventing Marine Le Pen of the Front National from consolidating the support of the right wing.