President Goodbrain Smarts Very Thinkfully About Climate Change, Science

The "president" of the United States sat down for a 20-minute interview with reporters for the Washington Post, and reading the transcript, we really think he's getting even more word-salady than ever. Of course he lies and doesn't seem to know what he's talking about, but even the lies and ignorance seem to be spewing out much more incoherently than usual. Yr Doktor Zoom is not an MD, so we can't say he's losing his grasp on reality -- how can you lose what you never had? But even his crazy is sounding crazier, as we see in his strange, extended bloviage when he explained why he had little use for that major report on climate change his administration tried to bury in the Black Friday shopping frenzy last week.

WaPo's Josh Dawsey asked the man with the nuclear launch codes why he's "skeptical" of the climate change report, and Trump offered this bit of ultimate bafflegab which comes down to "I don't believe science because I don't believe it, and reality is really just a matter of what you believe, isn't it?" -- only more circuitous:

One of the problems that a lot of people like myself — we have very high levels of intelligence, but we're not necessarily such believers.

Not surprisingly, one of the National Climate Assessment coauthors, Texas Tech climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, explained in an email for a follow-up piece at WaPo that the big deal about science is that it's real whether you "believe" it or not:

"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."

Trump had a LOT MORE to say, although of course it had nothing to do with climate, because he's confused. Why are greenies so upset when air and water pollution are already really over-regulated in the USA?

You look at our air and our water, and it's right now at a record clean. But when you look at China and you look at parts of Asia and when you look at South America, and when you look at many other places in this world, including Russia, including — just many other places — the air is incredibly dirty.

"It's right now at a record clean" is not English. The language is not at a level of work badness that way! And of course, presuming Trump means smoke, particulates, and and other icky pollution you can see: That stuff has nothing to do with climate. CO2 emissions are invisible, and while they're coming down (thanks largely to improved fuel economy standards and power companies' switch from coal to natural gas -- both of which Trump wants to undo), US CO2 emissions are only down to 1996 levels. That's not "clean."

Then it was time to head off into pure what the hell is he even talking about, even?

And when you're talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small. And it blows over and it sails over. I mean, we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific, it flows, and we say where does this come from. And it takes many people to start off with.

You'd think maybe someone would explain to the highly intelligent man that while oceans are definitely affected by warming, no, it really has nothing to do with garbage on the beaches, which is a different kind of bad.

Texas A&M atmospheric sciences prof Andrew Dessler had a much harder time finding anything even remotely coherent to say about Trump'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.

Really, that just proves how smart Donald Trump is: He can talk about why he doesn't believe science at length, and the silly professor struggled to even say anything, though he's supposed to be the "expert."

Then Trump was on to his next gabbing point, with the repeatedly debunked notion that you can't trust science anyway because in the '70s, two newsmagazines did really shitty reporting about the possibility of a new Ice Age. Never mind that there was never any scientific consensus about it; it's jammed in what's left of Trump's brainmeat more firmly than a frozen caveman on a glacier -- and it'll stay there, because unlike the melting glaciers, Trump's stupid is unchangeable.

[If] you go back and if you look at articles, they talked about global freezing, they talked about at some point the planets could have freeze [sic] to death, then it's going to die of heat exhaustion.

WaPo's Glen Kessler and Salvador Rizzo made quick work of that nonsense:

Time magazine in 1974 titled an article "Another Ice Age?" and said "climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age." And Newsweek, in 1975, ran an article titled "The Cooling World," which said: "Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend. … But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century" [...]

In 2008, several scientists decided to go back and review the peer-reviewed literature at the time. Despite the media coverage highlighted by Trump, it turns out that peer-reviewed articles on global cooling were in a distinct minority compared with those concerned with global warming. "The survey identified only seven articles indicating cooling compared to 42 indicating warming. Those seven cooling articles garnered just 12% of the citations," the researchers reported.

In fact, in 2006, Newsweek admitted it had been "spectacularly wrong" in publishing its article. Yet the bad journalism of the 1970s is still cited today by climate skeptics such as Trump, even though the science affirming the impact of human activity on climate change now is widely accepted.

Trump then went on -- at surprising length! -- about his already-debunked notion that California's wildfires were caused by a failure to clear out undergrowth in forests. It's bullshit, and we've already gone over it, and if you want more detail, see the WaPo fact-check on that, because who even has the time, GOD THIS MAN IS A DANGEROUS BOOBY AND HE SUCKS.

Speaking of dangerous boobies who suck, let's instead close with rightwing blunderkind Ben Shapiro, who offered this charming dismissal of the effects of global warming back in January; a sharp-eyed Twitterer highlighted it again yesterday in the context of the new reports and Trump's strange dismissal:

And yes, he really did say that: The worst effects of climate change, like sea level rise, will take a long time to occur, so we'll all just adapt and be fine. If sea levels rise five feet in a hundred years, people can just sell their houses and move to higher ground before it happens, you see. Which might actually work -- at first, since no doubt some people will find suckers to buy their eventually unlivable coastal homes decades before they're inundated. The Wisdom of the Free Market makes that unlikely once seawater's lapping at the garage door. Shapiro's incredibly smart analysis also fails to take into account what will happen to hundreds of millions of people in low-lying countries like Bangladesh, where there's precious little higher ground to move to and few local resources to pay for it. Oh, and the hurricanes. And the fires. But Bangladesh?

Eh, not our problem. If they try to come here, we'll just tear gas them and their kids.

[WaPo / WaPo / National Climate Assessment / WaPo]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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