It literally could not have been more incorrect. First off, “Do you believe in climate change?” is a bad question that should be banned from all interviews. But fine, that’s the question Piers Morgan chose to ask Donald Trump for his first internationally broadcast interview, which aired over the weekend. Trump’s response was littered with factual inaccuracies that Morgan failed to correct.
Here is the transcript:
MORGAN: Do you believe in climate change? Do you believe it exists?
TRUMP: There is a cooling, and there is a heating, and I mean, look—it used to not be climate change. It used to be global warming, right?
TRUMP: That wasn’t working too well, because it was getting too cold all over the place. The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records, so OK, they’re at a record level. There were so many things happening, Piers. I’ll tell you what I believe in. I believe in clear air. I believe in crystal-clear, beautiful water. I believe in just having good cleanliness in all.
Let’s break down how wrong this is, sentence-by-sentence.
- “There is a cooling, and there is a heating ...”
It’s never easy to decipher Trump, but for the sake of argument, let’s say Trump is saying that he believes global temperatures are fluctuating. Sometimes the globe gets cooler, he believes, and sometimes the globe gets hotter.
That’s untrue. While there are average global temperature fluctuations every year, there is a clear warming trend over the long-term, starting when humans began pumping large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere during the industrial revolution. Here is the most recent global temperature data released by NASA, a federal agency that Trump is technically in charge of.
- “... and I mean, look—it used to not be climate change. It used to be global warming, right?”
Trump is using a common argument here: that scientists changed the term “global warming” to “climate change” because they couldn’t support their claim that the world was warming. That’s also incorrect, and again, Trump could see that if he looked at information from his own scientific agencies. As NASA explains, climate scientists have used both “global warming” and “climate change” to describe different things since at least 1975.
Politicians did begin using the term “climate change” more frequently than “global warming” in the early 2000s. But that was widely attributed to Republican strategist Frank Luntz, not scientists or Democrats. In 2003, Luntz first suggested that Republicans start using the term “climate change,” because it was less scary than “global warming.”
No, Piers. Wrong.
- “That wasn’t working too well, because it was getting too cold all over the place.”
From the Associated Press: “The world hasn’t had a cooler-than-average year since 1976 and hasn’t had a cooler-than-normal month since the end of 1985, according to more than 135 years of temperature records kept by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
The last four years have been the four hottest years on record globally, with 2010 the fifth hottest year, according to NOAA. Every year in the 21st century has been at least three quarters of a degree (0.4 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 20th century average and in the top 25 hottest years on record, NOAA records show.
- “The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records, so OK, they’re at a record level.”
Again, NASA can debunk this very easily.
- “There were so many things happening, Piers.”
- “I’ll tell you what I believe in. I believe in clear air. I believe in crystal-clear, beautiful water. I believe in just having good cleanliness in all.”
Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, is in the process of dismantling the environmental regulatory state in America. Pruitt is literally putting up posters at the EPA celebrating the collapse of environmental regulations.
In sum, Trump is bad at science, Morgan is bad at journalism, and everyone is dumber for having listened to both of them.