Trump tweets climate change skeptic in latest denial of science

02:35 - Source: CNN
Don't believe these climate change lies
CNN —  

President Donald Trump escalated his denial of global warming Tuesday, when he took to Twitter to quote a noted climate skeptic who claims that climate change is “fake science.”

Trump cited the comments of Patrick Moore on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” program, which identified him as the co-founder of the activist group Greenpeace.

According to Greenpeace, however, Moore is not a co-founder but rather “a paid spokesman for a variety of polluting industries for more than 30 years.”

Moore, who is not a climate scientist but who has degrees in forest biology and ecology, played a significant role in Greenpeace Canada for several years early in the organization’s existence, according to Greenpeace’s website, but he did not help found it.

“He also exploits long-gone ties with Greenpeace to sell himself as a speaker and pro-corporate spokesperson, usually taking positions that Greenpeace opposes,” the group said in a statement in 2010.

But the incorrect facts about Moore’s past and credentials pale in comparison to the incorrect facts in the quote the President chose to tweet.

’There is no climate crisis’

According to Moore, “there is no climate crisis.”

But according to Trump’s own government’s report from November, “the impacts of climate change are already being felt in communities across the country.”

The National Climate Assessment, which was a collaboration of 13 federal agencies and over 300 leading scientists, found that the US economy could lose hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century because of climate change.

“There is nothing fake about the climate crisis we face today,” said Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist from Texas Tech University who was one of the lead authors of the report.

“The science behind climate change has been understood since the 1850s. We cannot afford to have politically motivated people spin the issue any longer,” Hayhoe said of Moore’s comments.

’There’s weather and climate all around the world’

Although Moore is correct that weather and climate occur all over the world, that obvious statement does not in any way counter the facts that climate is changing and that human activities are the cause.

According to a special report last year from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C (1.8°F) of global warming above pre-industrial levels (from 1850-1900).”

That report also projected that the planet could reach dangerous levels of warming by 2030, which would include more heat waves, greater sea level rise, worse droughts and rainfall extremes.

And although extreme weather has always occurred, the warming climate is worsening many types of extreme weather – and even causing some of it.

US government scientists have pointed to the role that climate change has played in what have been the costliest back-to-back years in weather-related disaster costs, totaling well over $350 billion in 2017 and 2018.

“Climate change is playing an increasing role, amplifying the frequency and intensity of certain types of extreme weather that lead to billion-dollar disasters,” said Adam Smith, lead researcher at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

’Carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life’

Carbon dioxide is not one of the six elements generally considered the chemical building blocks of life – but its components, carbon and oxygen, are (along with hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus).

According to NASA, “carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important heat-trapping (greenhouse) gas, which is released through human activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels.”

The carbon dioxide data (red curve) measured on Mauna Loa is the longest record of direct measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere.
NOAA / Scripps Institution of Oceanography
The carbon dioxide data (red curve) measured on Mauna Loa is the longest record of direct measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere.

And thanks to ever-increasing emissions of it worldwide, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are higher than at any point in the past 800,000 years.

Earth’s temperature is very closely coupled to carbon dioxide, and “even a very small amount of it can have a profound warming impact,” said Michael Mann, a climate scientist and director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.

Moore’s sentiment that carbon dioxide is essential to life on Earth is correct, but too much of it is certainly not a good thing.

Mann had an offer for Moore: “If he wants proof, I’m sure I can raise funds for his one-way trip to Venus.”