President-elect Donald Trump, in a recent interview with Fox News, reaffirmed that he is “very open-minded” with regards to climate change. As reported by the Washington Post, he then proceeded to say that “nobody really knows,” referring to the demonstrably false belief that scientists are divided when it comes to the causes of the phenomenon.
This latest round of anti-scientific nonsense brings to mind a well-known quote with an uncertain attribution. “It pays to keep an open mind,” it reads, “but not too open that your brains fall out.”
As ever, it’s unclear what Trump is attempting to achieve here.
Things like this are his way of essentially paying lip service to the 99.9 percent of scientists that accept the link between human activity and climate change. The fact that he is “open-minded” about it suggests he can be convinced of the science, but as the leader of the free world, he should have accepted the clear-cut data long ago.
Sure, he and his daughter Ivanka – who has recently made some opaque comments about the topic – met with climate change-fighting advocates Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio recently to hear what they had to say, but otherwise, the President-elect is cramming his cabinet with climate change deniers. It’s an anti-intellectual roll call, a Pandora’s box of bloviating ignoramuses just waiting to be opened on inauguration day.
For example, the man hotly tipped to be the new Secretary of State is the current ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson. Apart from his politically questionable connections with Russia’s authoritarian President Putin, he is also an advocate of oil for extremely obvious reasons.
Under his tenure, the company – one which was found to have lied about its prior knowledge of global warming – did ultimately acknowledge the science behind climate change. However, any initiatives to help the world combat it remain lacking.
The Secretary of State is by far one of the most powerful governmental positions. If Tillerson is nominated and confirmed, he will bring a huge number of conflicts of interest to the table. How, for example, does one think he will discuss the Paris agreement with other nations’ representatives considering his background?
Meanwhile, the future head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to be a man who has spent much of his career helping states to sue the EPA. The incoming Chief-of-Staff claims the science is a bunch of bunk, as does Trump's space science advisor, who also wishes to defund NASA’s Earth Science division.
Essentially, it’s becoming incredibly difficult to tell what is real and what is parody these days when it comes to Trump, and these appointments are all as distressing as they are ludicrous. What’s next – Walter White as the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration?