Does Trump still believe climate change is a hoax? His staff don’t want to talk about it
While Donald Trump was pissing off Europeans a week ago, White House economic adviser Gary Cohn said of his views on climate change: “He came here to learn. He came here to get smarter. His views are evolving, which is exactly as they should be.”
That’s just about the funniest thing any insider has said in weeks about the man squatting in the White House. “Just about” because the funniest thing, the most hilarious thing, and also the sickest, lamest thing was the hideous tongue-bath Scott Pruitt—the EPA-hating director of the EPA—gave Trump in the Rose Garden after his Thursday speech on withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement.
That speech was obvious proof that Trump has not been made smarter by any tutorials he may have received while mingling with the members of NATO and the G7. Hardly a surprise given that we already knew the man has the attention span of a toddler, doesn’t read, and doesn’t listen.
His announcement that he’s withdrawing the United States from the Paris agreement was laced with misinterpretations, exaggerations, half-truths, quarter-truths, and outright concoctions. Malignant and ridiculous. Assertions made with neither context nor nuance. What we didn’t get with all the base-pleasing gobbledegook was confirmation one way or the other whether The Donald believes the revelations of climate scientists or continues to hold to the whacked-out view that climate change is a “hoax.”
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
Not that it’s easy to be certain of anything the nation’s most prominent grifter believes about anything. But given the 115 climate-science denying tweets Vox has catalogued, why would he go silent now? When his advisers were asked whether the pr*sident’s views on climate change have evolved, they couldn’t or wouldn’t say.
Peter Baker reports:
[A]dministration officials clearly saw no benefit in clarifying. If they affirmed that he still believed climate change to be fake, they would expose him to even more criticism at home and abroad and complicate the lives of those advisers who accept the broad scientific consensus. If they asserted that he had changed his mind and now agreed that climate change is real, then they would have to explain a flip-flop while risking criticism from his own base. […]
Climate science deniers, cheered by his decision to pull out of the Paris agreement, seemed willing to live without a clearer statement taking on what they call the bogus claims of environmental advocates.
Supporters of the Paris accord said the White House refusal to outline Mr. Trump’s beliefs on climate change indicated that he had not bothered to inform himself on the issue before making a decision with enormous consequences. “By not admitting what his views on this, the White House is just hiding the fact that Trump is too incurious to actually look seriously at the issue,” said Andrew Light, a former Obama State Department official who helped negotiate the Paris pact.
“Incurious”? Mr. Light is far too kind. Donald Trump doesn’t know squat about climate change. And he obviously doesn’t care.
However, it’s irrelevant what is believed about climate science by Trump, Sen. Jim Inhofe and two-thirds of the rest of the Republicans in Congress, the Koch brothers, or the Exxon guys in the ‘70s who chose to remain publicly silent about what their own researchers were telling them of the eventual impacts of greenhouse gases the fossil-fuel industry was adding to the atmosphere. This was done all the while they hired professional liars to attack climate science and smear scientists to create doubt among the populace, doubt that might lead to less use of fossil fuels.
Irrelevant because global warming has a full head of steam now and what they believe or don’t about it will not make it go away. What matters is how they act. We know where Trump wants to go. It’s in his two-regulations-axed-for-every-new-one-added proposal. It’s in his dreadful budget. Chop, chop, chop. Say adiós to a third of the EPA budget, to carbon emissions reductions, to the Department of Energy’s renewables research, to new flood maps, to accessible climate data.
Although Trump’s announcement will not mean any actual withdrawal from the Paris agreement until 2021, it is obviously having a psychological and political effect already. The good news is that a primary effect so far seems to be the galvanizing of leaders across the country to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the U.S. pledge of reductions promised in 2015 when we had a real president in charge instead of the Commander-in-Tweet.
One of the best things the wise mayors, governors, university presidents, and business leaders who have joined in this positive response can do is spend the time it takes to persuade other mayors and governors to sign on, too.
Any American whose mayor or governor has said his or her city or state will stick with the Paris agreement should call their office Monday and give them a verbal hug. Constituents of the mayors and governors who haven’t done so deserve a phone call, too.
What should be remembered in all the discussions on this matter is what we’ve all along known—Paris provides an important foundation for further efforts, but the pledges of the current agreement are nowhere near enough to do what needs doing. We need something tougher. The longer we wait to get tougher the more difficult it will be to stay within the 3.6-degree Fahrenheit global temperature rise limit that scientists say gives us a chance of weathering the worst impacts of climate change.
The message Trump delivered on Thursday should make every progressive activist who hasn’t already gotten there into a climate hawk. And climate hawks are who we should elect at every opportunity, local, state, and federal.
(Originally appeared at DailyKos)