Late Night Comics School Trump on Climate Science
"What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Please come back fast, we need you!" he wrote.
In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In comin… https://t.co/FnaCaBA5Nz— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1548728929.0
While scientists and journalists jumped in to point out his mistake, Trump also got a schooling from a less traditional group: comedians. On Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tuesday, the talk show host invited two children to explain the basics of climate science to the president.
Eight-year old Apollo and ten-year-old Kaitlynn broke down the workings of the greenhouse effect with helpful illustrations.
"And even though it's cold where you are, that doesn't mean the globe isn't heating up," Apollo said. "What you are experiencing is weather. Weather is what happens today. Climate is what happens over the long run."
You can watch the full segment here:
Kids Explain Climate Change to Donald Trump www.youtube.com
Not to be left out, Seth Meyers also addressed the president's remarks on the Late Night with Seth Meyers by using Trump's confrontational temperament as an object lesson in the difference between weather and climate, The Huffington Post reported.
To demonstrate weather, he showed a one-off clip of Trump saying he respected Hillary Clinton, his opponent in the 2016 election, for her persistence.
"See that was weather. A quick, one-time thing," Meyers said.
"Now this is climate," Meyers continued, introducing a montage of some of Trump's most offensive remarks. "And that's what's going to get us all killed," the comedian concluded.
From tonight’s #LNSM: Seth explains global warming in terms Trump can understand. https://t.co/YZRNLc9hW5— Late Night with Seth Meyers (@Late Night with Seth Meyers)1548811230.0
Stephen Colbert, meanwhile, addressed the fact that climate change might actually be the cause of the extreme cold threatening the Midwest this week.
"These temperatures are actually caused by 'global waming,' sir," the host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert said in his opening monologue, mocking the president's typo. "Polar vortex breaks up and dips south, it's all predicted."
What The Hell Is Going On With 'Global Waming?' www.youtube.com
Indeed, the Union of Concerned Scientists explained that a weaker polar vortex, the name for the cold air that usually circulates around the poles, means colder temperatures in Northern Eurasia and the Eastern U.S. That vortex has been weakened by accelerated Arctic warming and the melting of Arctic sea ice. Temperatures in some Midwest cities are colder now than parts of Antarctica, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
But perhaps the most elegant, though unintentional, takedown of the president's climate ignorance came earlier in the day from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). On Tuesday morning, NOAA Climate.gov tweeted a cartoon showing how warmer oceans can add more moisture to the atmosphere, actually increasing snowfall.
"Winter storms don't prove that global warming isn't happening," the tweet read.
Winter storms don't prove that global warming isn't happening. https://t.co/LDqfq4JH9n https://t.co/ndmLD637Cb— NOAA Climate.gov (@NOAA Climate.gov)1548774023.0
NOAA spokeswoman Monica Allen told The Hill that the tweet was not a veiled dig at the president.
"With the blast of severe winter weather affecting the US, we often get asked about the relationship between cold weather and climate change. We routinely put this story out at these times," Allen said. "Our scientists weren't responding to a tweet."
Colbert: Trump Should Get the Ocean to Pay for Wall to Save Tangier Island https://t.co/fP8eGeCFBL #renewable… https://t.co/BXrdN5K9OS— Renewable Search (@Renewable Search)1497969246.0
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The speed and scale of the response to COVID-19 by governments, businesses and individuals seems to provide hope that we can react to the climate change crisis in a similarly decisive manner - but history tells us that humans do not react to slow-moving and distant threats.
A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
Cutting Off Circulation<p>As well as devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world, melting polar ice could set off another tipping point: a disablement to the AMOC.</p><p>This circulation system drives a northward flow of warm, salty water on the upper layers of the ocean from the tropics to the northeast Atlantic region, and a southward flow of cold water deep in the ocean.</p><p>The ocean conveyor belt has a major effect on the climate, seasonal cycles and temperature in western and northern Europe. It means the region is warmer than other areas of similar latitude.</p><p>But melting ice from the Greenland ice sheet could threaten the AMOC system. It would dilute the salty sea water in the north Atlantic, making the water lighter and less able or unable to sink. This would slow the engine that drives this ocean circulation.</p><p><a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/atlantic-conveyor-belt-has-slowed-15-per-cent-since-mid-twentieth-century" target="_blank">Recent research</a> suggests the AMOC has already weakened by around 15% since the middle of the 20th century. If this continues, it could have a major impact on the climate of the northern hemisphere, but particularly Europe. It may even lead to the <a href="https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10871/39731?show=full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cessation of arable farming</a> in the UK, for instance.</p><p>It may also reduce rainfall over the Amazon basin, impact the monsoon systems in Asia and, by bringing warm waters into the Southern Ocean, further destabilize ice in Antarctica and accelerate global sea level rise.</p>
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
Is it Time to Declare a Climate Emergency?<p>At what stage, and at what rise in global temperatures, will these tipping points be reached? No one is entirely sure. It may take centuries, millennia or it could be imminent.</p><p>But as COVID-19 taught us, we need to prepare for the expected. We were aware of the risk of a pandemic. We also knew that we were not sufficiently prepared. But we didn't act in a meaningful manner. Thankfully, we have been able to fast-track the production of vaccines to combat COVID-19. But there is no vaccine for climate change once we have passed these tipping points.</p><p><a href="https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2021" target="_blank">We need to act now on our climate</a>. Act like these tipping points are imminent. And stop thinking of climate change as a slow-moving, long-term threat that enables us to kick the problem down the road and let future generations deal with it. We must take immediate action to reduce global warming and fulfill our commitments to the <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris Agreement</a>, and build resilience with these tipping points in mind.</p><p>We need to plan now to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but we also need to plan for the impacts, such as the ability to feed everyone on the planet, develop plans to manage flood risk, as well as manage the social and geopolitical impacts of human migrations that will be a consequence of fight or flight decisions.</p><p>Breaching these tipping points would be cataclysmic and potentially far more devastating than COVID-19. Some may not enjoy hearing these messages, or consider them to be in the realm of science fiction. But if it injects a sense of urgency to make us respond to climate change like we have done to the pandemic, then we must talk more about what has happened before and will happen again.</p><p>Otherwise we will continue playing Jenga with our planet. And ultimately, there will only be one loser – us.</p>
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