Donald Trump has a long history of denying climate change. In a 2012 tweet, the future president erroneously claimed that not only was climate change a hoax, but that it was also invented by the Chinese to cripple America's economy.
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
When Trump met with the The New York Times in mid-November, he appeared to retreat on his rejection of climate change science. Prompted by a question from Thomas Friedman about his position, Trump said, "I have an open mind to it. We're going to look very carefully."
However, Trump's incoming chief of staff and current Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus seemed to reaffirm the president-elect's skepticism about climate change in a Nov. 27 appearance on Fox News. Priebus told host Chris Wallace that Trump mislead The Times. "He'll have an open mind about it," Priebus said, "but he has his default position, which most of it is a bunch of bunk, but he'll have an open mind and listen to people."
Whether or not Trump and his newly nominated staff members believe that climate change is occurring — regardless of its cause or relation to human activity — there are indisputable facts that demonstrate its existence. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that global warming is not only real, but that it's also happening at an alarming rate. Here's proof:
- 2016 was the warmest year on record, breaking the last three years' records.
- 16 out of the last 17 hottest years ever recorded occurred in this century.
- The earth is approximately 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than the pre-Industrial-age average temperature.
- The world has lost approximately 52 percent of its wildlife population since 1970, according to the WWF. "The WWF attributes the massive die off of wildlife to three factors: deforestation (which also leads to more fossil fuel burning), human consumption, and change in habitats as a result of warming temperatures."
- The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is experiencing the worst "coral bleaching" or die-off in its history. Over 90 percent of the world's largest living ecosystem is affected by the bleaching with the northern part of the reef facing extreme bleaching. Numerous reports have found evidence between rising sea temperatures and this mass bleaching.
- The world's marine population has dropped by 40 percent since 1970. Freshwater ecosystems, in particular, are in dire straits: populations in those environments fell by 76 percent since 1970.
- In Latin America, populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish fell by 76 percent.
- Despite being polar night in the Arctic presently, meaning that the sun barely rises, temperatures are 20 degrees Celsius above average for this time of year.
- Arctic ice sheets are losing mass exponentially. Between 1979 and 2015, ice sheets shrunk more every decade from 3.5 to 4.1 percent, reports Wired.
- Arctic ice is at the second-lowest level ever recorded; the lowest recorded was in 2012. It's roughly 2.56 square kilometers smaller than the 1979 to 2000 average.