Climate change denial has no place in politics, and in the face of several natural disasters occurring all around the world, global warming should not be contested or minimized by President Donald Trump’s administration.
Trump has denied global warming, saying that it was a “hoax” perpetrated by China, and has expressed disbelief in man-made climate change, according to a 2016 interview with the Washington Post. Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma attorney general and Trump’s pick for the administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, rejects climate change, possibly because he has received campaign money from the fossil fuel industry, which would not benefit from climate change measures.
In June, Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris Accords, which deals with the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions globally, because he said that the oil, gas, and manufacturing industries would be hindered. Trump pushed executive orders preventing the hiring for Environmental Protection Agency positions and rolling back regulations on carbon pollution, according to a May 2017 article on CNN.
Even in the face of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, Pruitt does not want to talk about climate change. In an interview with CNN Sept. 7, Pruitt said “to have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm; versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced.” While it is not wrong to prioritize the well being of those affected by the storm, Pruitt should not diminish analysis of global warming’s relationship to the hurricane. The supporting information of a 2013 study by the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America showed that the frequency of Hurricane Katrina magnitude events increased 3.6 times for every one degree Celsius increase in global temperature. According to the Earth Observatory, run by NASA, global warming could make future hurricanes more intense and deadly, and increase the severity of coastal flooding in the event of a storm.
If hurricanes by themselves do not highlight the need to recognize climate change, then the 123 wildfires that dot the western United States should. About 2 million acres are on fire, according to Chris Wilcox of the National Interagency Fire Center in an NPR interview. The summer heat waves contributed to the wildfires, with record temperatures reaching 106 degrees in San Francisco on Sept. 1, according to Accuweather. A 2016 PNAS study confirmed that global warming has doubled the area burned by forest fires.
Trump has yet to answer for his denial of human-caused climate change in the wake of these disasters. Trump, Pruitt and other deniers in power need to be pressed on climate change and urgently modify the way they address environmental policy.