President Donald Trump repeated a climate change misconception on Wednesday evening, declaring that the blast of cold weather across the northeastern United States drew into question the whole notion of climate change. Trump, who has stated this several times before, received a number of responses from people desperately trying to explain the basics of climate science.
“Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS - Whatever happened to Global Warming?” Trump asked his 55.8 million followers.
The tweet led to a number of followers jumping into the replies to explain why Trump is wrong. One user called “jenijenicat” shared a GIF from a February episode of Last Week Tonight, showing the Catheter Cowboy played by Thomas Kopache. The animation sums up everything wrong with Trump’s statement: “Just because sometimes it’s cold, that don’t mean there’s no global warming. You’re confusing climate with weather, pardner!”
This was backed up by user “AwayFromtheKeys,” who shared this video of Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining the difference by walking a dog along the beach. The dog, which represents weather, can move around as much as it wants, but the leash dictates his relative movements. Tyson, representing climate, influences the dog’s trajectory as he moves:
The tweet received a number of responses from experts confirming this. Tyler Mauldin, a meteorologist at the University of Georgia, wrote that “a short-term pattern does not confirm nor refute global warming and climate change.
“However, where there’s extreme cold — there’s another part of the world dealing with extreme heat. It’s how Mother Nature tries maintaining an equilibrium temperature to sustain life on earth.”
One user called “chuckgraef” shared graphs from Stefan Rahmstorf, head of earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, explaining this further by looking at the jet stream:
The Washington, D.C.-based Capital Weather Gang went one step further:
Trump’s mixup can have devastating consequences. One reply shared a quote from the late Stephen Hawking, who told the BBC in July 2017, just after Trump withdrew the country from the Paris Agreement:
“We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid. Climate change is one of the great dangers we face, and it’s one we can prevent if we act now. By denying the evidence for climate change, and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children.”
Given that Trump, a master troll who’s savvy enough to throw statements like this at his base of supporters, has heard the easily understandable fact that weather isn’t climate so many times, he must know his tweet is false, right? Right?
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