Record lows have been set across the eastern 2/3 of the country this week–the Kansas City area included–prompting a mischievous response from President Donald Trump and predictably humorless pushback from the media.
“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record,” Trump tweeted. “Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”
With a wink and a nod,Trump skewered the sacred cow of climate change and reveled in the blasphemy. As anticipated, the faithful howled in outrage.
“Cold weather doesn’t disprove climate change, Donald Trump,” scolded the would-be meteorologists at the Verge. CNN huffed, “Donald Trump doesn’t know the difference between climate and weather.” And PBS recruited a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School to “fact check” Trump’s tweet.
“This cold snap is weather,” Dr. Michael Oppenheimer instructed us. “Weather is what you experience day to day. Climate is the long-term average of weather over periods of years, decades, centuries or even longer.”
What Oppenheimer does not address is why weather forecasters are so much more humble than climate scientists. Forecasters tentatively tell us what the weather will be like next week, and they apologize when they are wrong. Climate scientists tell us what the climate will be like years from now, and they never apologize, even when those years catch up with them.
In January, 2006, for instance, celebrity climatologist Al Gore declared that unless authorities took “drastic measures” to reduce greenhouse gasses, the planet would reach a “point of no return” by 2016. 2016 has come and gone, and Gore’s “true planetary emergency” proved to be one false alarm out of many as the people in Minnesota enduring 40-belw zero temperatures can assure him.
The cold has settled in over the bi-state area as well with a forecast low of 9-below in Kansas City on Sunday morning. Take the president’s advice, bundle up.