Trump confuses climate change with weather, prompting widespread despair

'I have never had a student dumb enough to make the kind of inference Trump is making,' professor and former Bush adviser says

Tom Embury-Dennis
Thursday 22 November 2018 10:12 GMT
Donald Trump says he thinks climate change will 'change back'

Donald Trump has once again confused the weather with climate change after suggesting chilly weather headed towards the US means global warming is not real.

“Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS - Whatever happened to Global Warming?” Mr Trump tweeted on Wednesday evening.

The US president was apparently referring to possible record low temperatures forecast for northeastern US this weekend.

Mr Trump’s claim echoed another tweet from a year ago, in which he said America would benefit from “a little bit of that good old global warming” when much of the US was inundated with snow.

The 72-year-old has long denied the scientific consensus on climate change, claiming in 2012 the phenomenon was a Chinese hoax intended to hurt American exports.

Scientists generally prefer the term “climate change” to “global warming” because the effects of humans emitting heat-trapping greenhouse gases are more likely to manifest as extreme weather events rather than temperature increases alone.

Mr Trump has rejected that distinction as a distraction by the “dollar sucking wiseguys”.

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Nasa has a web page dedicated to making clear the distinction between weather and climate.

“The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time,” it says. “Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere ‘behaves’ over relatively long periods of time.”

Experts were quick to point out the problem with Mr Trump’s "dumb" tweet.

“Weather and climate are not the same thing. Weather moves heat from side to side. Global Warming is heat in vs heat out - top to bottom,” Mike Nelson, a meteorologist, said on Twitter. “Not political, just thermodynamics.”

Jess Phoenix, a geologist and fellow at the Royal Geographical Society, said: “Your rejection of science will literally kill people. Doubtful any temp records will be broken.

“Extreme weather like this is EXACTLY what climate models show courtesy of increasing global temps. Stop attacking science for your myopic ignorance.”

Professor of politics at Maryland University, and former adviser to the Bush and Obama administrations, Shibley Telhami, said: "In my over three decades of teaching, I have never had a student dumb enough to make the kind of inference Trump is making in this tweet."

Thirteen minutes after his initial tweet, Mr Trump followed it up with a rambling and inaccurate claim he was being blamed by the media for traffic jams.

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“You just can’t win with the Fake News Media,” Mr Trump wrote. “A big story today is that because I have pushed so hard and gotten Gasoline Prices so low, more people are driving and I have caused traffic jams throughout our Great Nation. Sorry everyone!”

US media has widely reported on possible record numbers of travellers over Thanksgiving this weekend, but The Independent could find no cases of outlets blaming the president for traffic congestion.

Fox News, Mr Trump’s preferred media outlet, in fact reported there were expected to be fewer drivers over Thanksgiving compared to 2017 due to the relatively high price of fuel.

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