By Prarthana Mitra
After years of professing that climate change is a hoax, US President Donald Trump redacted the claim, stating he isn’t sure of its origin, implying that he is not willing to ascribe it to man-made reasons. He further suggested that the climate will “change back again.”
In an interview with CBS News’s ’60 Minutes’ on Sunday, where he also discussed Jamal Khashoggi’s alleged murder by the Saudi government, Trump said he doesn’t want to jeopardise his country’s image by voicing a radical opinion on climate change.
Here’s what he said
“I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a hoax. I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s man-made. I will say this: I don’t want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don’t want to lose millions and millions of jobs.”
In 2012, Trump called climate change a hoax, fabricated by the Chinese, in a tweet that read, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” Although he apologised for the Chinese comment, calling it a joke, Trump has reverted to calling global warming a hoax in the years to come, until this Sunday.
“I’m not denying climate change,” he said in the interview on Sunday, continuing, “But it could very well go back. You know, we’re talking about over a…millions of years.”
This change in attitude comes in the heels of the release of the number of high-profile reports by the IPCC and several environmental organisations, sounding a dire call for immediate change in economic policy, to avoid an ecological catastrophe. The IPCC report, in particular, outlined how any further global warming would increase climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth.
Here’s why Trump’s optimism is misplaced
According to temperature records dating back to almost five decades, the global temperature has not decreased since the ’70s. Studies by the NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reflect that there hasn’t been a cooler-than-average year since 1976 or a cooler-than-normal month since 1985.
At this moment in US history, Trump has to deal with the aftermath of at least two debilitating natural disasters, in Georgia and Florida which have been ravaged by hurricanes this month. The president, however, has continued to doubt scientific facts linking the climate change to more powerful hurricanes.
“What about the scientists who say it’s worse than ever?” the interviewer asked Trump, to which he replied, “You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda.”
At present, he is in denial of the role that current economic operations, very much man-made, play in the road towards environmental damage. In 2017, he threatened to quit the Paris Accord, which is trying to bring world leaders in line and affix certain global measures to combat the apocalypse we are headed towards. This includes implementing a massive carbon tax on industries, setting voluntary greenhouse gas emission targets and cutting down on coal consumption, all of which Trump is vociferously against.
This recent development is but a tacit and rather inadequate agreement in the face of mounting pressure on advanced economies to save the earth collectively and affirmatively.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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