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Trump takes aim at environment's 'perennial prophets of doom'

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With environmentalist Greta Thunberg in audience at annual Davos forum, US President slams warnings of climate change as 'foolish'

DAVOS: US President Donald Trump took aim yesterday at the "perennial prophets of doom" on the environment, telling the annual Davos forum that warnings of climate crisis were "foolish".

In a keynote speech to the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss ski resort, Mr Trump touted fossil fuels, deregulation and a booming US economy - a message in stark contrast to the dire warnings delivered by teenage campaigner Greta Thunberg and others.

"We must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse," Mr Trump said hours after Ms Thunberg told the World Economic Forum that governments had done "basically nothing" to reverse climate change.

With Ms Thunberg in the audience, Mr Trump branded those warning of out-of-control global warming and other environmental disasters "the heirs of yesterday's foolish fortune tellers".

Mr Trump ticked off what he said were previous predictions that had been proved wrong, ranging from over-population in the 1960s to "an end of oil" in the 1990s.

"We will never let radical socialists destroy our economy," said Mr Trump, apparently referring to his Democratic party opponents ahead of the presidential election in November.

Mr Trump took the stage in Davos just after the Swiss president delivered a speech appealing for the world to care for the planet.

But the US leader heralded the United States as the "number one producer of oil and natural gas".

He rattled off numbers indicating what he said were huge savings for American consumers and invited Europe to buy more US energy products.

The expansion of oil, gas and coal production has "been so successful that the United States no longer needs to import energy from hostile nations", he said.

"Our European allies no longer have to be vulnerable" if they "use America's vast supply".

Mr Trump said the US was joining a newly announced international initiative called the "one trillion trees" project and he said he wanted to conserve "the majesty of God's creation and the natural beauty of our world".

But he said technical innovation, not restricting economic growth, is the way forward.

"Fear and doubt is not a good thought process," he said.

Mr Trumpalso touted the success of the US economy, while criticising the US Federal Reserve.

He said trade deals struck this month with China and Mexico represented a model for the 21st century.

"The Fed raised rates too quickly and has lowered them too slowly," Mr Trump said of the Federal Reserve, taking aim at the central bank's policy decisions.

Mr Trump picked up on some of the themes he voiced when he first addressed the WEF two years ago.

He thanked overseas companies for investing in the United States and said the US was on far better economic standing than he had imagined when he took office three years ago.

"The time for scepticism is over," Mr Trump said as he invited more foreign money.

"To every business looking for a place to succeed... there is no better place than the US," he added. - AFP, REUTERS