On 60 Minutes last Sunday, putative president Donald Trump backed away from his famous assertion that climate change was a hoax invented by the Chinese to crash the US economy. As absurd as that claim was, millions of Americans accepted it as gospel because The Donald said it.
But on Sunday he told Leslie Stahl, “I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again. I don’t think it’s a hoax. I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s man made. I will say this: I don’t want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don’t want to lose millions and millions of jobs.”
Asked about the recent powerful hurricanes that have devastated Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, Trump brushed off the scientific consensus that a warmer Earth is making storms more powerful. “You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda,” he said. Questioned further about melting polar ice caps, he dug himself in deeper, saying “You don’t know whether or not that would have happened with or without man.”
He couldn’t have been a more faithful spokesperson for the know-nothing, do-nothing, business as usual mantra touted by Charles and David Koch for the past 30 years if he tried. Incurious is far too mild a word for the cerebral powers of the Super Ego of Pennsylvania Avenue. He believes whatever he is told without conducting any independent inquiry of his own, just as he now claims that unnamed and unknown “rogue agents” murdered Saudi news correspondent Jamal Khashoggi.
Whatever lies he needs to tell himself and his followers to preserve a multi-billion dollar arms sale, he is more than willing to embrace them. The new scenario came about because he spoke with Saudi King Salman, who assured him in the strongest possible terms that Saudi Arabia would never countenance such a despicable deed. That’s good enough for Donald, just as he was willing to swallow whole the lies of Vladimir Putin when he assured Trump in the strongest possible terms that Russia would never stoop to interfering in America’s electoral process.
Trump is not alone in pooh-poohing the connection between human activity and global warming. Florida senator Marco Rubio, whose state is facing the greatest jeopardy from rising sea levels, said recently, “Many scientists would debate the percentage of what is attributable to man versus normal fluctuations.”
So there you have it from the highest levels of the US government. The Earth is getting hotter but perfidious scientists are blowing things out of proportion to feather their own nests and secure more research grants. It’s as plain as the face on your nose.
The planet may be getting a trifle warmer — what’s a few degrees anyway? — but it will bounce back eventually. Who knows, maybe one day it will stabilize enough so that humans can live on it again — in about a million years, after the Earth heals itself from the damage inflicted by people the first time around.
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