Trump pines for global warming during snowstorm, confusing weather with climate

President Trump returned to questioning the reality of global warming and mocking climate science on Sunday morning.

On Twitter, Trump insinuated that the major winter storm that hit much of the Midwest on Saturday before heading toward New England on Sunday was evidence that anthropogenic climate change is absurd and laughable.

“Be careful and try staying in your house. Large parts of the Country are suffering from tremendous amounts of snow and near record setting cold. Amazing how big this system is. Wouldn’t be bad to have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now!” Trump tweeted.

Climate change doubters often point to snowfall and low temperatures as proof that climate change is untrue or even a hoax. But these arguments confuse weather with climate and betray a lack of understanding for the science in question.

David Kanter, a professor of environmental studies at New York University who researches climate change, explained that weather is the state of the atmosphere from day to day. It’s what someone feels and experiences outside in his or her immediate surroundings, and it’s measured anywhere from minutes to months. He said climate is the measuring of those weather patterns over decades to centuries.

President Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday. (Photo: Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

To explain this distinction, Kanter sometimes asks his students to imagine a baseball player using steroids. Would someone be able to predict if this ballplayer on a performance-enhancing drug will hit a home run during a specific at-bat?

“No, you don’t look at one particular at-bat. You look at his batting average over the course of the season and compare it to a similar player who hasn’t been taking steroids,” Kanter told Yahoo News. “So, you could say over the course of the season the player is more likely to hit home runs but that in any particular at-bat, we can’t be 100 percent sure. We can only talk in terms of probability.”

Over the years, Trump’s opinion on climate change has fluctuated from denialism to skepticism. He has called the phenomenon a hoax concocted by the Chinese to make the U.S. less competitive at manufacturing. When pressured to substantiate such bizarre claims on “60 Minutes” last October, Trump backed off the hoax rhetoric but still refused to acknowledge mankind’s impact on climate change or its consequences for the planet.

“I think something’s happening. Something’s changing. 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 want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don’t want to lose millions and millions of jobs. I don’t want be put at a disadvantage.”

Carter Martin shovels a sidewalk at Maplefields store and gas station on Sunday in Plainfield, Vt. ( Photo: Lisa Rathke/AP)

Trump has also conjectured that “nobody really knows” whether climate change is real, which is not true.

The vast majority of scientific organizations have issued public statements affirming that the climate has warmed significantly over the past century as a result of human activities, and that this constitutes a major problem.

For instance, the American Geophysical Union has said, “Human‐induced climate change requires urgent action. Humanity is the major influence on the global climate change observed over the past 50 years. Rapid societal responses can significantly lessen negative outcomes.”

As a result of the current storm system, he National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings for at least 15 states stretching from Missouri to Maine.


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