On Friday afternoon, the Trump administration released the mandated report on climate change that has been required of the government every four years. The report, authored by 17 government agencies with input from various independent scientists, was heavily conflictual with the rest of the administration’s position on climate change.
The report showed that there were alarming trends in weather patterns that had happened over the last decade, with strong connections to the changing climate. Along with grave predictions of continuing change, the report pointed out there could be trillions of dollars in damages to U.S. businesses due to climate change over the coming decades.
When the report failed to be buried, despite the best efforts of the administration to publish it on a Friday afternoon, the place press release go to die, and not on just any Friday but Black Friday, the administration entered into damage control mode.
On Monday, nearly back-to-back statements came from Donald Trump and white house spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee Sanders denying the validity of the report.
According to the BBC, reporters asked Trump on Monday whether or not he had read the climate change report and seen the economic predictions within it, he responded, “I don’t believe it,” before deflecting away any blame about the problem from the United States.
“Here’s the other thing,” said Trump, “You’re going to have to have China and Japan and all of Asia and all these other countries, you know, it [the report] addresses our country,” he said. “Right now we’re at the cleanest we’ve ever been and that’s very important to me. But if we’re clean, but every other place on Earth is dirty, that’s not so good.”
In a press conference, Sanders continued this line of denial and deflection.
“The president’s certainly leading on what matters most in this process, and that’s on having clean air, clean water,” said Sanders. “In fact, the United States continues to be a leader on that front.”
“We think that this is the most extreme version and it’s not based on facts,” Sanders said in statements reported by the Hill. “It’s not data driven. We’d like to see something that is more data driven.”
Pollution in general is an important issue to address, and making sure we have clean water and air is important, and the U.S. has done well on that front. Yet, it feels disingenuous for an administration that has tried to strip back the environmental protections against mining and the release of pollutants to pursue this line of reasoning.
Trump’s strategy to revive coal and oil in the United States has not been solely focused on just limiting the release on carbon dioxide into the air. He has taken a literal scorched earth approach to reviving industry, removing any sort of regulation that could possibly infringe against drilling or mining.
Regulations of toxic air pollution have been lifted by the EPA, and long-time protections for water pollution removed. Plans to drill in the Arctic have been approved, and areas around National Parks that have held protected status for decades have been opened to mining and drilling companies. If there is a regulation that limits the scope or ability of coal and oil, even if it is a decades old agreed upon rule for the greater benefit and health of society, the Trump administration has made it a priority to remove it.
This administration doesn’t seem to particularly care about actually cleaning up the air or water that he and Sanders suddenly care so deperately about. Yet, this has repeatedly been the claim that they and others in their administration have made. These are empty promises that have come out this government, and will continue to come out of it.
Perhaps, there is more validity to his claim that the administration just doesn’t believe that climate change is having a negative effect. There is always some room for doubt within any scientific study, and theory always only provides the best picture of what we understand to be going on. It’s fair to want to see more data.
Yet, this doesn’t seem to be the case either. All of this has been accompanied by a scrubbing, or flat out denial, of any data related to climate change. When a report that has the backing of Trump’s own government agencies headed by his own appointments and backed and corroborated by leading experts in the field is flat out denied, there are questions that need to be answered about what it is they believe facts are.
The Trump administration doesn’t really care to find more data. They don’t want to see anything that doesn’t support the position they have already taken, and these organizations are only digging up things that challenge it. There is only so far that you can push denial of the results when the theories that are being presented are as significant and well backed by the scientific community as these reports.
The Trump administration needs to get its story straight. If they are going to continue to deny the existence of climate change, they are going to need to provide better excuses. This administration has decided they don’t need to join us in the real world, and they are going to continue to play this game of fantasy that they only seem to believe until it’s too late.