On Sunday night, the president talked with Piers Morgan about his climate change views and the Paris Agreement. The widely-reported results were not good. They were also wholly unsurprising and we need to stop pretending like they are. In fact, we need to stop asking the president what he thinks about climate change.
I won’t bore you with the specifics of the president’s latest climate conversation, because it’s the same dumb shit every time. We now definitively know our president takes Fox News talking points as climate science and really thinks the non-binding, choose-your-own-emissions-target approach of the Paris Agreement somehow “took advantage” of the U.S.
And all signs are pointing toward that never, ever changing. This is a man who, with a single phone call, could talk top the best climate scientists in the world at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, if he wanted to actually learn what’s going on with the climate. He could call the State Department if he wanted a briefing on the Paris Agreement. He could read the definitive report his administration published on how climate change is and will continue to impact the U.S.
Instead, Donald Trump has yet to appoint a science advisor, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy has been hollowed out. Trump’s failure to appoint a science advisor—the longest an administration has ever gone without doing so—means there’s nobody the president can call on to understand the intersection of science and good policy, which could spell catastrophe when it comes to climate change and a host of other issues.
Last week, Democrats on the House Science Committee sent a letter to Trump warning about the perils of not getting sound science advice and the need to appoint a science advisor ASAP. A spokesman for Rep. Don Beyer’s office—Beyer is the ranking vice chairman on the committee—said the administration has yet to respond to the letter or a similar one sent in May 2017.
All this is to say we should put the “what does President Trump think about climate change” question to bed. He’s ignorant of the basic science of climate change and chooses to deny it for political gain. This is as clear in his Piers Morgan interview as it was in past interviews and even more tellingly, in his tweets.
There is no need to go through the same cycle of him saying something dumb and easily debunked, a bunch of outlets mindlessly repeating it in their headlines, an earnest AP fact check, Being Mad Online, and then being distracted by something new to debunk and be pissed about.
You want something to be pissed about that matters?
Take a look at the cabinet stocked with deniers who have taken a sledgehammer to the sound but wholly inadequate policies in place for tackling climate change. This administration is hellbent on doing everything possible to ignore one of the biggest existential threats humanity has ever faced. That will matter a lot more to future generations than what Donald Trump told Piers Morgan.