SCIENCE
12/28/2017 09:07 pm ET Updated Jan 05, 2018

Trump Just Used Normal Winter Weather To Undermine The Science Behind Climate Change

The president re-upped a favored talking point of climate change deniers.

President Donald Trump used forecasts for what could be record-breaking cold weather over New Year’s Eve to push a widely disproven talking point denying climate change.

In a message posted to his Twitter account on Thursday night, Trump incorrectly suggested that climate change and weather are the same thing, and that due to a cold snap, parts of the United States could benefit from global warming.

“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,” he wrote.

As various government agencies like NASA and NOAA note, “climate” refers to atmospheric behavior over a long period of time (often decades or more), whereas “weather” can vary minute to minute.

Whenever heavy snow falls or low temperature records are broken, climate change deniers cite those events to further their political talking points. Trump, who has called climate change a hoax manufactured by the Chinese, routinely expresses his wishes for “a big fat dose of global warming” during cold weather.

The Trump White House is staffed with some of the most high-profile climate change deniers in American politics ― including Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke ― who have quickly worked to dismantle parts of former President Barack Obama’s vast climate legacy.

Trump’s message on Thursday also appeared to reference his decision earlier this year to withdraw the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate accord ― though his tweet inaccurately represented the amount of money the U.S. government had pledged to contribute to the pact.

Under the deal, the U.S. had promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025 compared to 2005 levels, and had committed $3 billion ― not “trillions of dollars” ― in aid to the Green Climate Fund, which helps poorer countries adapt to climate change.

It’s unclear where Trump’s figure comes from, but some agencies have said the world stands to gain trillions in economic growth under the terms of the deal, rather than take a financial hit.

CONVERSATIONS