Though ultimately difficult to prove whether it is President Donald Trump's willful misstatement of facts and reality or just the expression of his outright ignorance and stupidity, scientists and climate experts were forced to gasp at just how little the president appears to understand about the threat of human-caused global warming when he suggested to British interviewer Piers Morgan the polar ice caps were doing great.
"Globally, we are in fact seeing record sea ice....lows. We see that the opposite of what Trump said is in fact true." —Michael Mann, climate scientistIn the interview that aired Sunday night, in which Morgan asked the president directly about his beliefs on the subject, Trump responded by saying, "The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they're setting records."
Of course, the ice caps are setting records... but for how bad they're doing and how rapidly they're melting. As Common Dreams reported just last month, NOAA's latest Arctic Report Card—a government-generated document that anybody (even the president) can read—showed that rates of Arctic warming and sea ice decline are now at levels not seen in 1,500 years.
The #Arctic saw its 2nd warmest year on record, says @NOAA's Arctic Report Card issued at #AGU17. This #satellite-based animation shows Arctic sea ice concentration was below average during much of 2017. More info: https://t.co/PmPCRjrUVL pic.twitter.com/10u2elJvXz— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) December 12, 2017
Meanwhile, Penn State climatologist Michael Mann penned a detailed rebuttal to the president's statement on Sunday and explained, "Globally, we are in fact seeing record sea ice....lows. We see that the opposite of what Trump said is in fact true."
Though Trump has bragged that he's "like a very smart person" and "comprehends" things very well—"better than, I think, almost anybody"— the very accessible, highly documented, and well-explained scientific consensus on climate change appears to elude him in a big way.
The president insists that "the ice caps are at a record level," confirming the suspicion that he's living on a different planet.— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) January 29, 2018
The @realDonaldTrump fails to grasp basic climate change facts-For example the globe is warming 10x faster than during deglaciation after the last ice age-Here's me the last day snow fell in my home town, in 1976. https://t.co/ySQ1xoGUFK @billmckibben @MarkRuffalo @MichaelEMann pic.twitter.com/flBbHStxgo— Mark Z. Jacobson (@mzjacobson) January 29, 2018