Inauguration update: Since we first published this piece, two things have happened. One, Donald Trump was duly elected to be the 45th President of the United States of America. Two, both his cabinet and the angry orange one himself have continued to spout some profoundly anti-scientific things.
So we thought this article deserved an update. Try not to facepalm too much as you fear for the future of the world.
Happy inauguration day, everyone. Donald Trump is about to sit in the Oval Office and reign utter chaos down upon America.
Frankly, the idea that this bizarre demagogue is now the most powerful person in the world is a terrifying idea for a cornucopia of reasons, but one particular facet of this ludicrous rage-sputterer that doesn’t get enough attention is his flagrant disregard for science.
Let’s take a look at all the scientific theories and facts that The Donald – and his newly minted and profoundly unqualified cabinet – claims not to believe.
Several decades ago, the Republican Party that he is now the de facto leader of was, believe it or not, fairly pro-science. However, spurred on by its support of the fossil fuel energy industry, it rapidly shifted into a political organization that considers climate change nothing more than lies fabricated by conspiring scientists and environmental zealots.
Of course, this is a ridiculous line to take, but Trump has embraced it wholeheartedly. He considered man-made climate change a conspiracy long before his election campaign began, infamously espousing that it was a hoax conjured up by the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.
This would seem like a rather elaborate joke for the Chinese government to pull, particularly considering that they have signed up to the groundbreaking Paris agreement designed to mitigate man-made climate change.
It appears that a whole host of scientific organizations, including NASA, are also in on the prank – after all, they constantly produce data demonstrating how clear the link between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change actually is.
Since the election’s grim termination, Trump has taken a somewhat softer tone on climate science, claiming that there is “some connectivity” between climate change and human activity. However, he clearly doesn’t know the first thing about it – just recently, he claimed wind was a “very deceiving thing,” and that wind turbines throw steel into the atmosphere.
They do not.
His cabinet is also now chock full of climate change deniers, almost as if it was a requirement to be considered for the posts in the first place. Many of them are directly funded by fossil fuel conglomerates, including the Murray Energy Corporation, the largest coal group in the States.
Take the incoming head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt. An attorney general with a vendetta, he has spent much of his career suing the EPA for attempting to impose nationwide emissions caps. One analyst compared this appointment to putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department.
And then you’ve got the blundering mess that is Rick Perry. Having failing to win the Republican presidential nomination two times in a row, he is known for failing to remember what he is actually supposed to do in his new job as the head of the Department of Energy (DoE).
He has previously stated that he wished to dismantle the department, despite the fact that, when prompted, he infamously couldn’t even recall the name of it. Being a climate change denier, it’s not clear how he will handle the fact that the DoE handles research into clean energy.