With bitterly cold temperatures gripping much of the US, President Trump has returned to a familiar theme: Mocking global warming. "In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record," Trump tweeted Thursday. "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!" This is the first time he has tweeted about the subject as president, though he has made dozens of similar remarks when the temperature has dipped in previous years, including in October 2015, when he tweeted: "It's really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze ... Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!" Some reactions:
- Long-term trends. Scientists once again pointed out that weather and climate are not the same thing—and 2017 is still expected to be one of the hottest years on record. "Climate change will not occur evenly from place-to-place. While your backyard may be having an intense cold snap, others may be having unseasonably warm temperatures," Zack Labe at the University of California, Irvine, tells USA Today. "Climate is all about long-term trends."
- "Nobody ever said winter would go away." Other researchers stressed that cold snaps are becoming rarer, including Matthew England at the University of New South Wales, who calls Trump's remarks "an ignorant misconception of the way the Earth’s climate works." "Nobody ever said winter would go away under global warming, but winter has become much milder and the record cold days are being far outnumbered by record warm days and heat extremes," he tells the Guardian. "Climate change is not overturned by a few unusually cold days in the US."
- An analogy for Trump. The New York Times, which notes that Trump has posted more than 100 tweets skeptical of climate change, has an analogy it thinks he will appreciate: "Weather is how much money you have in your pocket today, whereas climate is your net worth. A billionaire who has forgotten his wallet one day is not poor, anymore than a poor person who lands a windfall of several hundred dollars is suddenly rich. What matters is what happens over the long term."
- The North American Weather Dipole. The Washington Post looks at the phenomenon, believed to be affected by climate change, that is causing freezing temperatures in the eastern states and forest fires in the West. Climatologist Brian Brettschneider predicts that it will make this New Year's Eve the third-coldest in the eastern US since 1948.
- Deep freeze. The AP reports that Trump is definitely right about one thing: People should bundle up. Prolonged cold weather is forecast for almost half the country, from the Midwest to the Northeast, and authorities are scrambling to provide extra help for the homeless and the elderly.
- Different strategy. Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice, noting that Trump was tweeting from Florida, urged him to do more to help. "Instead of tweeting like a child who hates science class, if you're so worried about the cold you could always send your 45M+ followers info about how to find shelter, prevent hypothermia & frost bite, prevent pipes from freezing, protect their pets, etc.," she tweeted.
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