Trump And Congressional Republicans Decide If They Pretend Hard Enough, Climate Change Will Just Go Away
Donald Trump has captured attention with an amazing feat of fact-defying ignorance, declaring to people in California that the entire drought there is nothing but a giant hoax. Trump said that he talked to farmers about it, and he says that they told him, “There is no drought. They turn the water out into the ocean.”
That’s an actual, direct Trump quote on the subject. I know, it’s confusing. Reading this comment, I keep wondering what possible relationship could a drought have to people turning water into an ocean… and what exactly does it mean for people to turn water out into an ocean, anyway?
The following is Trump’s attempt at a more articulate explanation of his understanding of the drought issue: “I said, ‘Oh, that’s too bad, is it a drought?’ ‘No, we have plenty of water,’ and I said, ‘Well, what’s wrong?’ and they said, ‘Well, we shove it out to sea.’ And I said ‘Why?’ And nobody even knows why and the environmentalists don’t know why. Now they’re trying to protect a certain kind of three-inch fish. But no, no think of it. So nobody even knows why, and by the way, the environmentalists don’t know why.”
Is this true? Could it be true that the drought in California is just a hoax, concocted by environmentalists who are trying to protect a three-inch fish, without even knowing why they’re doing it?
The answer to this question is easy: No, Donald Trump has got the facts wildly wrong.
The idea that Donald Trump is trying to articulate is that California isn’t really in drought, but is only experiencing water restrictions because of environmental regulations designed to protect a fish three inches long. That’s hogwash.
First of all, the species that are threatened by excessive pumping of water out of California’s rivers to create artificial farms out of desert landscapes are multiple. Some of them are three inch fish, but others are much bigger, including orcas and chinook salmon. Chinook salmon are not three-inch fish. As a National Marine Fisheries Service report explaining the problem details, “Chinook salmon are easily the largest of any salmon, with adults often exceeding 40 pounds.” The survival of chinook salmon is not just an environmental issue, either. It’s also an economic issue. Unsustainable exploitation of river water by desert farmers harms the substantial fishing economy of California. For many years before the California drought, California fishermen and their environmentalist allies have been asking for a more balanced, sustainable approach to the use of river water in the state.
The California drought is a separate issue. California water shortages are not being caused by environmental regulations there. What’s causing the water shortages there is the prolonged, extremely serious drought in the state.
The Drought Monitor Update from four days ago clearly shows that yes, California is in the most grave category of drought emergency.
The drought in California isn’t merely real. It’s categorized as “exceptional”.
There’s no doubt about it. California is in drought. Environmentalists didn’t cause it.
What’s more, climatologists’ models predict that extreme droughts like this will be made more common by anthropogenic climate change. So, if any human beings are to blame for the California drought, it isn’t environmentalists, but the fossil fuels industry that Donald Trump wants to make even bigger than it is now.
The science on this is extremely well established, but Donald Trump simply refuses to acknowledge it, because the science doesn’t fit with his ideology, his economic self-interest as an establishment billionaire, and his experience as a coddled child of privilege who never had to tolerate anyone telling him that he’s wrong. Donald Trump believes that if he just keeps on saying that the California drought doesn’t exist, then it really won’t exist. Trump believes that if he keeps saying that climate change isn’t real, then it really won’t be real. These are the beliefs of a child.
Unfortunately, they also appear to be the beliefs of the overwhelming majority of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Just a few days ago, the House of Representatives was debating an energy authorization bill, H.R. 5055. During this debate, Republican Representative Paul Gosar instroduced amendment 1117 to the bill, which was written to prohibit anyone in the government from considering three specific documents of scientific analysis. These documents were created by scientists to analyze the impacts of climate change on the United States. They were based on hard data and years of careful research. This scientific work is referred to with the term “social cost of carbon” in political circles, because it provides concrete grounds for guidance, rather than ideological guesswork, for engineers, land managers, developers, and others, on how to mitigate for the many impacts of climate change already being experienced in the United States.
Paul Gosar doesn’t have any scientific data that’s superior in scope or quality to that of the scientific analysis he sought to censor with his legislative amendment. He simply wants the federal government to be in the dark when it comes to the impacts of climate change. This attitude is reckless. It’s like telling farmers that they won’t be allowed watch weather reports.
Paul Gosar has an extremely conservative ideology, funded heavily by the fossil fuels industry, that makes him not want to believe that climate change is real. So, Representative Gosar has simply chosen to ignore all scientific research that contradicts his ideology and the economic interests of his funders. Like Donald Trump, Paul Gosar believes that if he can silence all the scientific voices warning of climate change, then climate change will cease to exist. Like Donald Trump, Paul Gosar has the beliefs of a child.
The trouble we’re in as a nation is that the U.S. Congress appears to be filled with politicians who share the childish beliefs of Donald Trump and Paul Gosar.
230 Republican members of the House of Representatives voted last week to approve Paul Gosar’s amendment to censor scientific analysis of climate change. They don’t want to believe that climate change is real, so they’re trying to silence scientists who have done research in the field. They’re hoping that if scientific research into climate change isn’t seen, then climate change won’t be real.
These infantile censors of science in the House of Representatives are listed below:
Cathy McMorris Rodgers