Trump Accuses Climate Change Scientists of Having a “Political Agenda”
On Oct. 14, President Donald Trump accused climate change scientists of having a “political agenda” on CBS’s 60 minutes. Although Trump walked back years of assertions that climate change was a hoax, he still held reservations on whether it was caused by human activity.
Trump’s statement came a week after the International Panel on Climate Change published a report, which warned of dire consequences of greenhouse gasses. The report estimated that the world’s temperatures could rise by as much as 3 degrees celcius by year 2100 if no significant actions were taken to reduce carbon emissions.
In the past, Trump has repeatedly challenged global warming as a hoax. As far back as November of 2012, Trump tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” More recently, Trump tweeted, “In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming...”
Although Trump conceded that he didn’t think global warming was a hoax in his 60 minutes interview, he also said he didn’t know if it was man made. He added that the current increase in global temperature could “very well go back,” casting a cloud over the certainty of climate change in the coming decades.
The Trump Administration has reversed many Obama-era regulations which aimed to cut back on carbon emissions. By dropping out of the Paris Climate Agreement less than a year into his presidency, Trump signaled to world leaders that the U.S. federal government wasn’t interested in tackling climate change.
The Environmental Protection Agency has taken numerous steps to cut regulations under Administrator Scott Pruitt. The agency has repealed many regulations under the Obama Administration which restricted pollution levels of power plants, including the Clean Power Plan. However, the E.P.A.’s new analysis estimated 1,400 more deaths a year under its new regulations for coal.
In March, E.P.A staffers received “talking points” instructing them to underscore uncertainties in human contributions to climate change. The E.P.A. is set to disband its Particulate Matter Review Panel in 2019, which currently advises the agency’s leadership of scientific information about soot in the atmosphere.
Although the federal government has taken a stance denying climate change, it has already dealt with its effects. 2018 is set to become the fourth hottest year on record, after 2015, 2016, and 2017 - in the past month, Trump has visited Florida twice after hurricanes Florence and Michael tore through the region.