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The president says the climate is about to get cooler | Editorial

Trump’s latest pronouncement follows a history of denying what’s climate science.

President Donald Trump flew to California last week to assess firsthand the wildfires that have ravaged the west for weeks, killing at least 35 people, forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes, burning millions of acres across three states and unleashing smoke that drifted all the way back to the White House in Washington, D.C.

In a meeting Monday, California officials implored the president to acknowledge the role that climate change played in the wildfires. Trump has blamed California for not raking up dead leaves and other bad forest management practices. When Wade Crowfoot, California’s natural resources secretary, chided the president — “If we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed together” — Trump flatly dismissed the point. “It’ll start getting cooler,” he said. “You just watch.”

The fantasy that the Earth will “start getting cooler” is only the latest scientific delusion from a president who has a long history as a climate denier. Whether one believes Trump is ignorant or indifferent, or even both, the net effect nonetheless is that this mindset and the policies and inaction that follow endanger American lives, livelihoods and property. It comes despite the president’s access to the greatest experts and scientific resources available. It also comes as a warming climate and its varied impacts — including severe drought, record high temperatures and rising sea levels — increasingly threaten more Americans from coast to coast. The same week the president toured a fire-ravaged west, the Atlantic Ocean had five tropical cyclones active at the same time, only the second time that has happened in recorded history.

Here is a sampling of Trump’s comments on climate change from both before and after he became president.

Sunny day flooding is becoming more common in parts of Florida, including the Las Olas Isles area of Fort Lauderdale.
Sunny day flooding is becoming more common in parts of Florida, including the Las Olas Isles area of Fort Lauderdale. [ JOE CAVARETTA | AP ]

The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.

— Nov. 6, 2012

Permafrost in parts of the Arctic is thawing much faster than scientists originally thought.
Permafrost in parts of the Arctic is thawing much faster than scientists originally thought.

It’s freezing outside, where the hell is “global warming”??

— May 25, 2013

Fracking for oil and gas has been linked to the release of greenhouse gasses that contribute to warmer temperatures.
Fracking for oil and gas has been linked to the release of greenhouse gasses that contribute to warmer temperatures. [ DAVID MCNEW | Tampa Tribune ]

I’m not a believer in global warming. And I’m not a believer in man-made global warming. It could be warming, and it’s going to start to cool at some point.

— Sept. 21, 2015, as Trump ran for the Republican presidential nomination

I don’t believe it.

— Nov. 26, 2018, responding to report by U.S. government agencies that unchecked global warming would devastate U.S. economy

The Big Rivers Electric Corporation power plant in Robards, Ky. The Trump administration pollution rules governing coal-burning power plants included fine print that acknowledgment the plan would increase carbon emissions and lead to up to 1,400 premature deaths annually.
The Big Rivers Electric Corporation power plant in Robards, Ky. The Trump administration pollution rules governing coal-burning power plants included fine print that acknowledgment the plan would increase carbon emissions and lead to up to 1,400 premature deaths annually.

I don’t think it’s a hoax...But I don’t know that it’s man-made.

— Oct. 14, 2018

Warmer seas could be contributing to more rainfall from hurricanes like Harvey, which hit the Houston area in 2017.
Warmer seas could be contributing to more rainfall from hurricanes like Harvey, which hit the Houston area in 2017.

The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science. There is no climate crisis, there’s weather and climate all around the world.

— March 12, 2019 Trump retweet of a quote by a guest on “Fox & Friends.”

Editorials are the institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times. The members of the Editorial Board are Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash, Editor of Editorials Graham Brink, and editorial writers Elizabeth Djinis, John Hill and Jim Verhulst. Follow @TBTimes_Opinion on Twitter for more opinion news

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