The dangers of electing a president that thinks climate change is fake

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Image: Gage Skidmore

It’s been established that President Donald Trump has a collection of controversial views, as he already looks to reverse policies enacted by the Obama Administration.

But none of these views are of bigger concern than Trump’s stance on climate change… or more frankly, his ignorance towards the Earth’s largest environmental predicament of the 21st Century and beyond.

Trump has indicated that he will reject President Obama’s policies aimed at combatting climate change, a decision likely to throw a spanner in the works of global efforts towards developing sustainable energy sources and curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

The stakes for the US and the world are enormous.

Climate change is real.


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From rains to droughts: extreme weather changes in Mongolia | Image: ADB

It’s been clear for over 50 years that greenhouse gases are heavily contributing to climate change, causing a serious threat to humans and other species.

According to National Geographic, parts of the Arctic have warmed as much as 8 ºC since 1960.

In fact, scientists internationally say that if humankind fails to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions immediately, the Earth could face an over 6 ºC rise by 2100 relative to preindustrial temperatures.


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As the ice melts, seas rise | Image: Klem@s

How would this warming affect the planet?

It would cause major disruptions to global agriculture, increasing the frequency and severity of floods and droughts, while rising water temperatures would cause the habitat ranges of fish to shift, disrupting ecosystems. 

It would also affect food security at all levels: locally, regionally and internationally.

Think about how increasing temperatures could contribute to food contamination or spoilage; how increases in extreme weather events and natural disasters could disrupt food delivery; how these weather events would cause food prices to spike more frequently; and how it could reduce water availability globally.


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Small island nations in the Pacific are suffering from the effects climate change | Image: Jenny Scott

Agriculture is just one part of the story.

How about the five Pacific Islands that disappeared earlier this year due to rising seas and erosion?

Six other islands making up the Solomon Islands also had large strips of land washed away — entire villages were destroyed.

It’s not just low-lying island nations that face inundation either.

National Geographic forecast that meltdowns of the Antarctic, Arctic and Greenland will cause oceans to rise between one to two metres by 2100.

This is enough to swamp many of the cities along the East Coast of America, with more dire estimates predicting that a complete meltdown of the Greenland ice sheet could be enough to submerge London.


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Monsoon floods will only get worse in Bangladesh | Image: Olaf Neussner/German Red Cross

But the somewhat larger concern will be the effects on flood-prone developing countries such as Bangladesh, home to over 155 million people.

These poorer countries lack the technology, innovation, communication and general economic resources to combat more extreme and regular weather events, and rising sea levels.

Then again, island nations and developing countries can’t be put on the New York Stock Exchange.

So should we be surprised that combatting climate change isn’t in President Trump’s best interests?


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Trump’s notorious 2012 tweet | Image: Twitter

Aligning with his preposterous claim that climate change is a hoax ‘created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive‘, it looks like Trump might cut the US Environmental Protection Agency.

He also mentioned pulling the pin on Obama’s Climate Action Plan and the Paris Agreement, the landmark 195-nation initiative seeking to prevent warming from reaching above pre-industrial averages of 2 ºC by 2100.

The agreement is the most important collaborative global project towards tackling climate change… and the Trump-led US isn’t interested.

Let’s just hope this doesn’t change other countries’ policies.

As climate change continues to contribute to humanitarian crises and national security concerns, it looks as though the international community may have to push forward without the US: the world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter and one of the largest emitters per capita (the US emits more than double the global average per person).

Well, as long as the US President believes it’s all a hoax.

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