Climate change is real. Our planet has been warming up ever since tne industrial boom of the 19th century. Polar ice caps are melting, tropical storms and wildfires are occurring with greater severity and frequency each passing year. Global food shortages are predicted to cause famine in developing countries by 2040.
All of that to say, its not looking good for the future of the earth. But, U.S. President Donald Trump has an answer.
“It’ll change back.”
Trump has staffed key environmental departments with individuals, and attempted to appoint others, who vehemently deny the existence of man-made climate change:
- Former Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt has said that rising carbon dioxide levels and human activity are unrelated to climate change.
- Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke once asked the superintendent of Joshua Tree National Park to stop talking about climate change altogether.
- The president’s nominee to the Department of Transportation once claimed three years ago that global warming had “stopped.”
- Current Attorney General Jeff sessions previously said CO2 isn’t a pollutant, it’s plant food, and doesn’t harm anyone.
- Former talk radio host and political science professor Sam Clovis, a previous nominee for USDA’s chief scientist who was denied the position when it was discovered he had no scientific credentials, has dismissed climate change as “junk science.”
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Meanwhile, hundreds of web pages and references to climate change on government websites have been scrubbed or taken down, and federal building projects that previously considered the effects of climate change have been gutted of any scientific guidance.
The president himself claimed climate change was a hoax.
“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” he tweeted in 2012.
He’s since gone back on that claim, but only in admitting the existence of climate change. No policies have been altered to reflect that admission.
“I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again,” Trump said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes.” “I don’t think it’s a hoax. I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s manmade. I will say this: I don’t want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don’t want to lose millions and millions of jobs.
“I’m not denying climate change,” he continued. “But it could very well go back. You know, we’re talking about over a … millions of years.”
Days before the interview, an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was awarded a Nobel Prize for its study on worldwide climate-related risk. The study investigated and drew insights from current environmental vectors, predicting that our planet is headed toward famine and devastation in a matter of decades if world leaders do not take some serious proactive measures.
According to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, recipients Paul Romer and William Nordhaus have “significantly broadened the scope of economic analysis by constructing models that explain how the market economy interacts with nature and knowledge.”
“Once we start to try to reduce carbon emissions, we’ll be surprised that it wasn’t as hard as we anticipated,” Romer said. “The danger with very alarming forecasts is that it will make people feel apathetic and hopeless.
“One problem today is that people think protecting the environment will be so costly and so hard that they want to ignore the problem and pretend it doesn’t exist,” he continued. “Humans are capable of amazing accomplishments if we set our minds to it.”
Despite the leanings of the Trump administration towards climate change denial, leaders in other environmental groups are not swayed by the rhetoric.
“The analogy could be if somebody’s got a heart problem or high cholesterol, you take medicine that helps manage that so you can avoid a heart attack,” Ana Unruh Cohen, the government affairs director at the Natural Resources Defense Council told Politico. “Trump taking that away, saying, ‘Forget it, I don’t believe I have high cholesterol,’ is setting up the country for a heart attack.”
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.