Trump botches important facts about climate change

Trump says the polar ice caps are "setting records" but doesn't realize it's the wrong kind of records

By Matthew Rozsa
Published January 29, 2018 9:42AM (EST)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

President Donald Trump has said that he would be willing to consider keeping the United States in the Paris climate accord, although he has not changed his denialist attitude toward global warming.

During an interview with British broadcaster Piers Morgan, Trump seemed to vacillate between his refusal to accept global warming science and his desire to improve his relationship with French President Emmanuel Macron by being friendly toward the Paris climate accord. "The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records," Trump told Morgan, according to Bloomberg. This wasn't the only time during the interview that Trump made it clear he did not understand basic findings of modern climate change science.

"There is a cooling, and there’s a heating. I mean, look, it used to not be climate change, it used to be global warming. That wasn’t working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place," Trump told Morgan.

At the same time, Trump attempted to send the message that he would be willing to re-evaluate his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord. Although he told Morgan that "the Paris accord, for us, would have been a disaster," he also mused, "Would I go back in? Yeah, I’d go back in. I like, as you know, I like Emmanuel —"

He added, "I would love to, but it’s got to be a good deal for the United States."

Despite Trump's denialist attitude toward global warming, recent studies from scientists who focus on the Earth's atmosphere have found that the planet's temperatures have reached near-record levels. Climate change could be linked to extreme storms, and sea levels could rise even more dramatically than previously expected.

"The problem has been the fossil fuel industry is so well-funded that they, even these guys — I guess they're mostly men — who have kids and grandkids have lost sight of what the consequences of introducing the idea that scientific uncertainty, plus or minus a couple percent, is somehow the same as doubt about the whole thing, plus or minus 100 percent. And that's wrong," popular scientist Bill Nye told Salon in October.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Climate Change Donald Trump Global Warming