Amy Harder

A Trump official at the climate talks in Germany claimed that his boss believes in global warming.

George David Banks, a White House adviser on energy and the environment, said Tuesday at the United Nations’ COP23 climate conference in the city of Bonn, “I think the administration would agree that humans contribute to climate change.” This statement comes on the heels of a controversial panel on Monday where Banks advocated for “clean and efficient” fossil fuels.

Banks’s statement is at odds with everything we know about this administration’s position on climate change. Trump famously called it a hoax invented by the Chinese. Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said earlier this year, “I would not agree that [carbon dioxide] is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.” (Carbon dioxide is the main product from burning fossil fuel and, as NASA notes, is the “most important” driver of global warming.)  Many of Trump’s top appointees, including his nominees to run NASA and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, are also climate deniers to varying degrees.

Has the Trump administration changed its position on climate change, and decided to reveal it through a low-profile official during a press gaggle in Germany? Not likely. Instead, either Banks believes in climate change and has decided to buck the administration’s line, or he’s lying in the hopes that protesters will stop jeering him.