POLITICS
01/28/2018 09:50 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2018

Trump Boasts The Ice Caps Are ‘Setting Records.’ But It’s For Melting.

And no one says "global warming" anymore because it’s "getting too cold all over," he told Piers Morgan.

President Donald Trump seemed to be in a fog about the facts of climate change during his British TV sit-down with Piers Morgan, which aired Sunday night.

Trump said in the ITV interview that the polar ice caps were supposed to be “gone by now,” but instead they’re “setting records.”

“The ice caps were going to melt,” he said, “they were going to be gone by now. But now they’re setting records. They’re at a record level.” 

Asked if he thinks that climate change is happening, Trump said, “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. Right? That wasn’t working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place.” 

This is not how the scientists explain it.

Climate change, according to NASA, refers to “a broad range of global phenomena created predominantly by burning fossil fuels.” The increasing average temperature of the Earth ― that is, global warming ― is one key result. Others are rising sea levels and a growing trend toward extreme weather and weather anomalies linked to that.

Last year was Earth’s second hottest on record. The world’s oceans were the hottest ever recorded in 2017.

As for things getting “too cold all over the place,” there hasn’t been a cooler-than-average year since 1976, according to more than 135 years of temperature records kept by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The last four years have been the globe’s four hottest on record, according to NOAA.

Now the polar ice caps are breaking records — for melting. And last year NASA reported that sea ice in both the Arctic and the Antarctic was at a record low, again due to melting.

But it’s not clear who, except for Trump, thought the melting process would happen so quickly that the ice caps would have disappeared by 2018.

Several scientists criticized Trump’s assessment of climate change and its effects as dead wrong.

“Ice on the ocean and on land are both disappearing rapidly, and we know why: increasing greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels that trap more heat and melt the ice,” Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis told The Associated Press.

Trump recently pointed to a winter cold snap on the East Coast as disproving climate change, apparently confusing climate and weather. As NASA and NOAA explain, “climate” refers to trends in atmospheric behavior over long periods of time, whereas weather is what happens today and tomorrow, varying even minute to minute.

Perhaps in an effort to demonstrate his environmental bona fides, Trump told Morgan that he does believe in “clean air. I believe in crystal-clear, beautiful water. I believe in just having good cleanliness in all.”

The president also said he might consider rejoining the Paris climate accord — which he pulled the U.S. out of last year — under different terms.

“If somebody said go back into the Paris accord, it would have to be a completely different deal because we had a horrible deal,” he said. “As usual, they took advantage of the U.S. We were in a terrible deal. Would I go back in? Yeah, I’d go back in. ... I would love to, but it’s got to be a good deal for the U.S.”

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