The American Geophysical Union is currently having its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., with approximately 20,000 members of the science community in attendance. During a session on the Arctic, NOAA administrator Timothy Gallaudet made it clear that the Trump administration has had no interest in being briefed on climate change.
According to E&E News, Gallaudet said, “the simple answer is no,” when asked if he’d received any invitations to discuss the latest climate change findings with President Donald J. Trump or any member of the current administration. Instead, Trump apparently prefers to get his climate change information from the controversial Heartland Institute.
As the Guardian reported, the Heartland Institute bills itself as a “non-profit thinktank,” and they have a long history of questioning data that is accepted by the vast majority of U.S. and international scientists. The organization has been accused of purposefully meddling in the dissemination of climate change information by spending $100,000 to dissuade K-12 teachers from educating their students on the subject.
Gallaudet further stated that the situation in the Arctic poses a “national security” threat to the lower 48 states. The Arctic region’s 13th annual climate change report card paints a disturbing picture. The oldest sea ice in the Arctic has dwindled by a staggering 95 percent. Local reindeer and caribou populations have dropped by 50 percent. Additionally, the past five years have each seen the Arctic set a new record high temperature for the region.
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Despite this observable evidence and the backing of most scientists, Trump continues to deny the existence of man-made climate change. The president was quoted by the Washington Post as stating the following.
“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… As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it.”
Per the NRDC, scientists around the globe have a drastically different opinion than Trump regarding climate change. In fact, the Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report indicates that we have only 12 years to cut at least 40 percent of our global emissions before permanent damage becomes unavoidable. Even worse, if we haven’t conquered the annual rising temperature by 2040, natural disasters such as widespread famines, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and droughts will become the norm, not the exception.
Earlier this month, 19 of the 20 G20 member nations reaffirmed the Paris climate accord — and their commitment to making necessary environmental changes. The one hold-out was the United States. Trump administration officials are currently stumping for coal usage, which has been linked to climate change, during international climate talks in Poland.