News & Politics

'Idiotic': Climate experts destroy Trump's nonsensical comments on global warming

Trump gave a disjointed, incoherent rant to dismiss the threat of climate change. Actual scientists were appalled.

Photo Credit: Official White House Photos by D. Myles Cullen

On Tuesday, The Washington Post published a new interview with President Donald Trump. He was even more incoherent than usual in this interview, but perhaps his most off-the-rails comments were on climate change.

Among the claims Trump made in the interview were that our air and water are "at a record clean," that we "take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches" from Asia, that scientists used to say "the planet is going to freeze to death," and that "people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we're not necessarily such believers" in climate change.

As the Post noted, some scientists reached for comment on the interview were so flabbergasted they struggled to find words to reply:

Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, said in an email Tuesday that the president’s comments risk leaving the nation vulnerable to the ever-growing impacts of a warming planet. "Facts aren’t something we need to believe to make them true — we treat them as optional at our peril," Hayhoe said. "And if we're the president of the United States, we do so at the peril of not just ourselves but the hundreds of millions of people we're responsible for."

Andrew Dessler, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University, struggled to find a response to the president's comments. "How can one possibly respond to this?" Dessler said when reached by email, calling the president's comments "idiotic" and saying Trump's main motivation seemed to be attacking the environmental policies of the Obama administration and criticizing political adversaries.

Trump has repeatedly denied the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity, and emissions, are transforming the earth's climate, at one point claiming that it was a hoax by the Chinese to limit America's economic competitiveness.

This stands in spite of the fact that his own administration just released a damning report that climate change could cost U.S. GDP hundreds of billions of dollars and kill thousands of people. Trump has said he does not believe that report and gave no coherent reason why he believes his own government officials are wrong.

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Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.