President Trump, whose administration has eliminated dozens of rules protecting the environment, on Tuesday reversed his position on climate change, which he used to describe as a hoax promoted by the Chinese.

On the sidelines of the NATO summit meeting in London, Trump declared climate change is important to him, especially the need for clean air and water.

“Honestly, climate change is very important to me,” Trump said. “I’ve done many environmental impact statements over my life, and I believe very strongly in very, very crystal clean water and clean air. I see what’s happening in our oceans … . It’s very important to me also. I want clean air and clean water, No. 1 and No. 2.”

His remarks followed remarks by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Monday that the planet is nearing the “point of no return” at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Madrid.

Trump long has belittled the concepts of global warming and climate change, with Twitter rants going back nearly a decade. And he confuses weather with climate.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, he often called global warming a hoax being promoted by China as a means of destroying the U.S. economy, and among his first acts as president, pulled the United States out of the Paris climate treaty.

He ridiculed teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg as a “very happy young girl” when she spoke earlier this year at the United Nations.

The Trump administration has virtually gutted the Environmental Protection Agency, reducing staffing and stripping air and water protections. Since taking office, Trump has rolled back 85 environmental rules, leading to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

"We’re ending intrusive EPA regulations that kill jobs," Trump said in a 2018 statement.

Among the rollbacks are blocking California’s ability to impose stricter tailpipe emissions standards than federal rules stipulate, stopping enforcement of a 2015 rule on the use of hydrofluorocarbons, partially repealing Obama-era methane reporting rules, rolling back power plant emissions rules to 2009 levels and lifting the ban on summertime use of 15% ethanol gasoline blends.