There are roughly 182 climate change deniers currently serving in the United States Congress. This is a massive, terrifying problem in and of itself, but on Thursday afternoon, one of those climate change deniers or skeptics who sits on the official House of Representatives Committee for Science, Space, and Technology decided to use the committee’s official Twitter account to make fun of a bunch of college students coping with climate change and to retweet a Breitbart article flat-out denying climate change was a reality.
In other words, an official, government-affiliated Twitter account representing a Congressional committee that’s supposed to look out for the scientific interests of the American people decided to spread deliberate misinformation.
First, whoever decided to spread a little government-sanctioned crazy took on a group of Yale University students who started a support group for people who were having trouble coming to terms with the fact that Earth is completely, utterly screwed.
For reference, this was the original Yale University tweet, which wasn’t particularly political (besides acknowledging that, yes, climate change is real and terrifying):
The students have reason to be sad. Donald Trump’s incoming administration is either catastrophically ignorant of the danger climate change represents or just willfully corrupted by the fossil fuel industry. Trump acknowledged that humans might have a little bit to do with rising temperatures, but that’s as close as he’s come to even acknowledging the issue.
And the Committee’s next tweet really sealed the deal. The official account retweeted a Breitbart News story about climate change noting that global temperatures are currently declining.
As House Democrats were quick to point out, the Breitbart article was pretty much entirely bullshit — the one degree drop during the short term effects of La Niña doesn’t magically erase the long term trend of global warming, and the brief respite from the spiking numbers won’t last.
Breitbart is deliberately — or stupidly — confusing a single data point with a longer trend. Despite peaks and valleys (which are pronounced this year due to the El Niño/ La Niña conditions), the overwhelming trend of global temperatures is still climbing, as you can see here on an official NASA website. The official page for the Democrats on the Science Committee clapped back pretty fast about that as well.
The problem is, the new administration doesn’t care about any of that. Trump has already put plans in place to completely dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency (by appointing Myron Ebell, a climate change denier and paid shill for the fossil fuel industry) and all of NASA’s climate monitoring and Earth sciences efforts, which he calls “politicized science”. Apparently, some elements of the legislative branch are already emboldened by the president-elect. We’re not sure who was responsible for the tweet, but the smart money is on someone from Republican Congressman Lamar Smith’s office. Smith, who represent’s Texas’s 21st District, is the Chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, so whatever bullshit the group’s Twitter feed sends out is probably on him. Fortunately, Smith is a moderate Republican who is firmly committed to supporting environmental protec— oh wait, no he’s not. He thinks the EPA is an unnecessary financial burden and likes to tweet heavily slanted articles from The Washington Examiner, a conservative tabloid in D.C.
Cool. This is fine. This is the guy who is in charge of the committee that will have to protect the environment from Donald Trump. Great.
Fortunately for every rational person involved, Bernie Sanders came through and dropped the sickest possible burn on whoever tweeted out this bullshit.
That’ll do, Bern. That’ll do.
Photos via Getty Images / David McNew