In the wake of Hurricane Michael, the President has once again backtracked on another issue. This time it’s Climate Change, and if you happen to be working in the sciences, or just pay attention to what’s going on in the world you might be wondering, what the hell is happening? Is this just a tactic appeal to moderates, or is this a sign of someone who might actually be willing to listen to those more qualified than his favorite journalists to brief him on the subject?
Of course, actions speak louder than words, and it seem highly unlikely that the President is going to begin pushing these United States towards more environmentally friendly legislation. If anything it appears to be another way to wiggle his way around complicated questions that he is not prepared to answer.
Unfortunately, this sort of ideologic oscillation is no surprise to the American people, and while the President apparently no longer thinks “the Chinese” are behind this “hoax” his recent backtracking does nothing to repair public mistrust of the Earth sciences or the undermining of climate change as a global issue.
In the mean time, the scientific community will continue to press forward regardless of the political thicket created by misguided truths and honest ignorance.
The excerpt below is from President Trump’s interview with Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes:
Lesley Stahl: Do you still think that climate change is a hoax?
President Donald Trump: I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again. I don’t think it’s a hoax, I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s manmade. I will say this. I don’t wanna give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don’t wanna lose millions and millions of jobs. I don’t wanna be put at a disadvantage.
Lesley Stahl: I wish you could go to Greenland, watch these huge chunks of ice just falling into the ocean, raising the sea levels.
President Donald Trump: And you don’t know whether or not that would have happened with or without man. You don’t know.
Lesley Stahl: Well, your scientists, your scientists–
President Donald Trump: No, we have–
Lesley Stahl: At NOAA and NASA–
President Donald Trump: We have scientists that disagree with that.
Lesley Stahl: You know, I– I was thinking what if he said, “No, I’ve seen the hurricane situations, I’ve changed my mind. There really is climate change.” And I thought, “Wow, what an impact.”
President Donald Trump: Well– I’m not denying.
Lesley Stahl: What an impact that would make.
President Donald Trump: I’m not denying climate change. But it could very well go back. You know, we’re talkin’ about over a millions–
Lesley Stahl: But that’s denying it.
President Donald Trump: –of years. They say that we had hurricanes that were far worse than what we just had with Michael.
Lesley Stahl: Who says that? “They say”?
President Donald Trump: People say. People say that in the–
Lesley Stahl: Yeah, but what about the scientists who say it’s worse than ever?
President Donald Trump: You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda, Lesley.
Lesley Stahl: I can’t bring them in.
President Donald Trump: Look, scientists also have a political agenda.