Every affluent person reading this article can easily decipher the difference between climate and weather. Also, we have read it about in geography classes in school. But how you will react when the same confusion comes from the world’s most powerful person, Donald Trump? Shocked? Well, we are too.
The President of the United States sent out an irresponsible and flat-out wrong tweet on Thursday that shows his total ignorance on the issue of climate change.
In case you missed out the tweet, here’s what he 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 that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2017
Let’s break down the tweet for you and why it’s a mess.
First of, Mr Trump has confused between climate and weather. According to NASA, the weather is the way the atmosphere behaves in the short-term. Is it cold and raining outside your window? That’s the weather.
Now, consider the weather in an area over a period of years or decades or centuries. That long-term pattern is the climate. So, just because it’s colder than usual in your city this week doesn’t mean it’s not trending warmer over time.
And the science also proves that the Earth is getting warmer. Globally, 2017 is set to be one of the five warmest years on record. The warmest on record is 2016. Before that it was 2015, and before that was 2014. You get the picture.
You get the idea. All available evidence — and there are 137 years of it! — makes very, very, abundantly clear that the climate is changing. There’s also this bit of fact: 97% of climate scientists who have published papers on climate change believe not only that the globe is warming but also that the warming is very likely due to human activity.
Mr Trump is free to tweet whatever he likes. And he will continue to do so. But to use cold weather as some sort of rebuttal of broader climatological warming is not even close to accurate, factual or funny.