Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Snow, Donald Trump, and climate change

It’s snowing lightly in the New York area this morning, and it expected to continue through the night and into tomorrow. We might get some early closings of the schools, which would mean I don’t play volleyball tonight; that’s sad. And, of course, though it’s not (yet) sticking to the roads, it’s doing its part to mess up traffic, or so I hear on the radio. Still, I like snow. It makes the world look pretty. And it’s expected, here, at this time of year.

Donald Trump was on the local suburban radio station this morning, promoting his television show by having a chat with the morning-drive personalities (DJ being such an obsolete term). But during the greetings, he started things by pronouncing that global warming is hooey (not his word, but I forget the specific words he used). It’s ridiculous, of course, he said: look at this snow, and it’s spring. And warming, well, this was the coldest winter I can remember.

I guess Donald Trump has just fired all the scientists.

But, see, here are some of the things that are not true:

  1. It is not true that it’s unusual to have a bit of snow in our area at the end of March, or even the beginning of April.
  2. It is not true that this was the coldest winter on record, or even for many years, and if it’s the coldest he can remember, he has a short memory.
  3. It’s not true that Donald Trump is a climate scientist, or any kind of scientist: he’s a businessman, and is apparently good at that. Others are good at other things, such as studying climate.

And here’s what is true:
As a businessman, Donald Trump has a strong interest in making people think there’s no problem. Regulations that address climate change at the expense of his business interests obviously won’t be making him happy.

I prefer the term global climate change, which gets us away from the idea that everything is monotonically warming, and that any time it’s unusually cold we should call the whole idea into question.

But what I really prefer is that we not pay attention to what businessmen such as Donald Trump — or clergymen such as Cardinal George Pell, or politicians such as Senator James Inhofe, or actors, or sports figures — have to say about science. Look to the scientists in reference to the scientists, and give preference to those who specialize in the field in question.

As with most topics, in the case of climate change you can certainly find disagreement among scientists as well. Unanimity is rare. But the vast majority of those qualified to weigh in will tell you that global climate change is a problem, and that we can and should work toward fixing it.

We don’t need to hear from someone who runs a business competition on television.

1 comment:

Brent said...

The Donald recently came out as a "birther" and now is a "climate change denier"...more evidence that he wants to run in 2012...