President Donald Trump dwells in an alternate reality.
First, he denies that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be held responsible for the savage murder of Washington Post correspondent and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi, despite the mountains of evidence provided by our intelligence agencies, including recordings of phone conversations.
Then, following weather predictions that millions of Americans would experience the coldest Thanksgiving in over 100 years, the president tweeted on Nov. 21, “Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS. Whatever happened to Global Warming?”
Nevermind that Trump’s response to the Saudis far exceeds anything President Barack Obama supposedly did on his so-called apology tour. Trump has groveled, plain and simple, because of his “all relationships are transactional” credo.
Ooh! We mustn’t upset the Saudis because they might cut-off our oil. That’s not going to happen when crude has tumbled to $50.42 a barrel, and the Saudis need it to be at $85 to balance their budget. Or, mercy! They might stop buying our military hardware. Sure. They’ll go to the Russians or Chinese to get spare parts for the F-15 fighter jets they bought from us.
On the climate change front, Trump is still mistaking weather for climate. Weather is another rainy day in Carroll County. Climate is experiencing our wettest year ever in 2018, an unwelcome pattern of days.
The climatologists started counting in 1871. Farmers require occasional rains and the average for the Baltimore area is 110 rainy days a year, according to The Baltimore Sun’s Maryland Weather. In 2018, we’re on track to hit 150 days, posing a challenge for farmers and backyard gardeners alike as they plant, cultivate and harvest.
Aside from the interminable rains, Carroll residents have been spared serious weather misfortune. Not so in nearby Ellicott City where a flash flood on May 27 brought complete devastation to downtown. It was its second once-in-a-thousand-years rain event in two years.
Elsewhere, as average temperatures have risen, extreme weather occurrences have multiplied, from October’s Hurricane Michael and Typhoon Yutu to November’s California wild fires.
Those who’ve been paying attention have long ago abandoned climate change deniers as unredeemable outliers, not unlike those forlorn members of the Flat Earth Society.
But having a pajama-clad guy in his basement blog about the fallacy of climate change is one thing, and having the leader of the free world buy into it is totally another. Since all things are personal to Trump, it might take a hurricane’s direct hit on his beloved and gilded Mar-a-Lago for him to take climate change more seriously.
In an unwitting mockery of the president, the White House released a federal climate report on Nov. 23 that easily proved the muddled nature of his thinking. The Thanksgiving weekend timing was no accident. Such occasions are customarily picked to bury reports unfavorable to the administration.
More than 300 researchers in 13 federal agencies announced that the U.S. had warmed on average 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century and predicted this will increase at least 3 more degrees by 2100 unless we adopt measures to limit fossil fuel use.
The Fourth National Climate Assessment, mandated by Congress, certainly bumps up against Trump’s intended withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate control which has signatories from nearly 200 countries — even rogue states like Syria and Nicaragua.
Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton University professor and lead author of several international climate reports issued by the UN, asserted in a “PBS NewsHour” interview that the latest official assessment proved “climate change is here … . Americans are already paying for it. They're already suffering from it.”
What’s the ultimate danger besides the immediate impact of extreme weather?
Oppenheimer observed that because the world is interconnected: “If the U.S. suffers from crop yield declines due to too much warming, then people go malnourished in Africa. If an electronic component supplier in Thailand is disrupted due to flooding, then our electronics industry that has to assemble the parts into a commercial product suffers and money is lost.”
His third point was that “we are way behind the eight ball; we're not doing enough to cut these emissions and bring the problem under control.”
In “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” Bob Dylan sang, “You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.” The same goes for accepting the reality of human-induced climate change, regardless of what our own “Dear Leader” has to say. Just look out the rain-splattered window.