December 30, 2016
President-elect Donald Trump has called climate change a Chinese hoax, vowed to dismantle America’s climate and clean energy policies, and appointed climate deniers with ties to the fossil fuel industry to his transition team and Cabinet.
Trump is looking at quick ways of withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement in spite of international backing for the plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions. At the Paris climate conference in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal, which sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to below 2°C. The US co-signed the agreement on April 22, 2016. I fear this will be the beginning of Trump’s reversal of policies designed to curb global warming.
Clearly there is a scientific consensus on global warming. In the scientific field of climate studies, which includes many disciplines, the consensus can be demonstrated by the number of scientists who have stopped arguing about what is causing climate change. So a consensus in science is different from a political one. There is no vote. Scientists just give up arguing because the sheer weight of evidence is too compelling, the tide too strong to swim against any longer. “…the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes.” In other words, more than 97% of scientists working in the disciplines contributing to studies of our climate, accept that climate change is almost certainly being caused by human activities. Global warming is no longer about science; it is now a political, economic and social debate.
Following his inauguration on January 20, Trump will be president and the Republicans will control the Senate and House, which means that efforts to control global warming will be dead even though the danger to our planet and civilization is real. Moreover, Trump is appointing climate change deniers to important department and cabinet posts:
Scott Pruitt, a longtime adversary of the Environmental Protection Agency – and a close friend of the fossil fuel industry – is to head the EPA. Pruitt claims global warming is “far from settled.”
Ryan Zinke will be the Secretary of the Department of the Interior who has consistently voted in favor of oil and gas projects on federal lands. The League of Conservation Voters gave him a lifetime voting scorecard of 3%. Zinke said the the science behind global warming is not proven.
Rick Perry has been selected by to take over the Department of Energy, the agency he famously wanted to abolish but could not name during his presidential bid in 2012.
Tom Price will take over the Department of Health and Human Services. He signed a pledge created by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative think-tank funded by the Koch brothers, to oppose climate change prevention legislation.
Do Trump and his soon to be members of his administration really believe that global warming is not real and if it is, it is not because of human activity? I believe these deniers have made a self-interest political decision, rather than a scientific one. By denying global warming, they now have an excuse to do little or nothing about it.
Yet there are a number of people who in fact distrust the science community. For years, global warming deniers have engaged in an effective disinformation campaign to undermined efforts to pass a clean energy bill to curb our addiction to oil and other fossil fuels, resulting in cleaner air, more renewable energy, a stronger dollar, and more innovative industries. Even if 999 scientists out of 1,000 agreed that the main cause of the increase in global average temperatures in recent history is not because of any natural cycle — although natural cycles do exist — it is because of man, the deniers, of course, would seize on the minority of scientists who do not agree.
No, Mr. Trump, global warming is not a Chinese hoax and there is too much at stake for us to stay silent and do nothing.