An activist prepares a balloon painted to look like planet Earth and decorated with orange hair and eyebrows in the likeness of U.S. President Donald Trump during a climate protest prior to a meeting of European Union leaders at the Chancellery on June 29, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
“Weather is not the same as climate. The president should be able to understand that. It isn’t hard.”
By Jake Johnson / 12.29.2017
“This is what happens when you try to run the country without a science adviser.”
So wrote meteorologist Eric Holthaus after President Donald Trump, citing the bitter cold currently gripping the eastern U.S., suggested in a Thursday night tweet, “Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old global warming that our country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against.”
In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2017
In addition to demonstrating that he is unaware of the distinction between weather and climate, Trump also appeared to be referencing his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord—a move environmentalists slammed as “stupid and reckless.”
Such recklessness has characterized much of Trump’s approach to the environment—both globally and in the U.S.—throughout his first year in office.
As the ranks of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continue to be filled with climate deniers and Big Oil favorites, the agency’s chief, Scott Pruitt, is moving at breakneck speed to dismantle even the most basic protections against environmental degradation—opening the door to both short-term and long-term catastrophes in a bid to reward the fossil fuel industry.
Furthermore, the GOP’s $1.5 trillion tax bill Trump signed into law last Friday opens Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, a decision characterized by Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune as “a gift to corporate polluters and a means to pay off these tax cuts for the rich.”
Trump’s tweet Thursday night sparked a flurry of reaction from climate experts and analysts, but it wasn’t the first time Trump has used cold weather to suggest that the citizens of the world should welcome the climate crisis.
Holthaus concluded that “as twisted and wrong” as these tweets are, they are “exactly what resonates with his base. Poking fun at existential global problems in the sickest, most selfish way possible.”
Others echoed Holthaus on Thursday, calling Trump’s scientific ignorance a serious danger to future generations.