Climate change is making pandemics more likely. According to research from Harvard University, rising temperatures have changed how insects and animals coexist with humans, increasing the risk of infectious diseases like Lyme disease and malaria.
To make matters worse, recent research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows that climate change made the COVID-19 pandemic worse. For instance, exposure to air pollution, which is on the rise as climate change continues, makes it more likely that patients will die from the coronavirus.
Despite this, President Donald Trump continues to deny the existence of climate change.
The president and his administration have repeatedly ignored, rolled back, and defunded programs designed to help address climate change. He has implemented policies against the consensus recommendations of the scientific community, who say climate change is a real and growing existential threat to human life.
Despite the plethora of research and scientific data, it is clear that Trump simply is not listening to the experts on the issue. Here are 8 instances in which the president ignored experts on the threat of climate change.
Trump does not believe in climate change
In September 2015, when then-presidential candidate Donald Trump was asked about global warming, he said:
“I’m not a believer in global warming, I’m not a believer in man-made global warming. It could be warming and it’s gonna start to cool at some point.”
Trump has called climate reports that show the effects of global warming “alarmist” and has continued to push for policies that enforce U.S reliance on coal for energy and the use of fracking to reach natural gas.
Trump ignores official scientific reports
In 2018, Trump dismissed a study that was produced by more than 300 leading climate scientists and included 13 federal agencies warning of the effects of climate change.
“I don’t believe it,” he told reporters, adding that he had read some of the report.
During bouts of cold weather, Trump has tweeted on multiple occasions wondering what happened to climate change.
“Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?” he tweeted in November 2018.
Trump pushes rule that would exclude climate change in infrastructure planning
During his time in office, Trump has ignored the environmental impact of climate change on infrastructure projects. In early 2020, Trump proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act to make it easier for the Keystone XL oil pipeline project to move forward.
Administration officials told the New York Times that it was Trump’s background as a real estate developer that motivated him to change the National Environmental Policy Act, not any expertise in climate science.
President Trump bans the words “climate change” from government websites
Since the start of the Trump administration, the words “climate change” have been removed from government websites, including the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Transportation.
EPA officials told Vox they were removing “outdated language.” Another official reported that government data on the Arctic used by climate scientists had also been removed.
Trump calls climate change a hoax and blames China
Even before his time in office, President Trump denied the existence of climate change. In 2012, he tweeted that climate change was created by the Chinese government.
“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” he said on Twitter.
Trump ignores experts and defunds climate science
In the last three years, President Trump has decreased the role that scientists play in policy making and disrupted research projects across the country, according to the New York Times.
In one example, the Trump administration disbanded a committee formed in 2006 to provide expert advice on defending against invasive insects and their impact on crops, livestock and human health.
There have also been reports of scientists leaving their departments after being reassigned to projects that are in direct opposition to their field of study. For example, Joel Clement, a former top climate-policy expert at the Department of the Interior, left his position in 2017 after he was reassigned to collect oil and gas royalties, according to the New York Times.
They also report that political appointees have shut down government studies, pressured researchers not to speak publicly and reduced the influence of scientists in regulatory decisions.
Trump pulls the United States out of the Paris Agreement
Trump has repeatedly prioritized business over the climate, most notably when he decided to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement. The agreement includes 200 nations that have pledged to reduce their carbon emissions and help poorer nations deal with the effects of climate change.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Trump’s decision on Twitter in November 2019, saying that the agreement would impose unacceptable burdens on the U.S.
Trump denies the importance of climate change and mocks a 16 year old girl
President Trump openly mocked a young climate change activist named Greta Thunberg from Sweden. Thunberg gained international attention in 2019 when she made a speech to the UN General Assembly and criticized world leaders for not doing enough to stop climate change.
President Trump took to Twitter saying the 16-year-old had “anger management problems.”
He was also dismissive of her concern over the effects of climate change saying that she should “go see a movie with a friend.”
World leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel have praised Thunberg’s work organizing young people to fight against climate change and even U.S presidential hopefuls like Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke have expressed their support.
Meanwhile Thunberg has also won multiple awards for her climate activism. She received the International Children’s Peace Prize, the Ambassador of Conscience Award and was named Time’s 2019 Person of the Year.