Rigorous science is critical to my administration's efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection. My administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks. As we do so, we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.
-- President Donald Trump, commenting on the March for Science
I just have to say it: Mr. President, YOU LIE. Indeed, you made a lie of that statement long before you even spoke the words. With the assignment of Scott Pruitt as director of the EPA, you put a climate change denier front and center in your administration. Pruitt is either ignorant or dismissive of science to the point where he contests whether carbon dioxide is a cause of the greenhouse effect. These aren’t leading edge hypotheses, Mr. President, but long established scientific facts, with considerable evidence and experimentation supporting them.
Your support of coal obviously falls under the same heading. The primary product of the combustion of coal is, once again, carbon dioxide, which traps infrared light energy, otherwise known as heat, and holds it in the atmosphere. This is not news, Mr. President. The first arguments about the greenhouse effect were made nearly 200 years ago in 1824, and experiments verified the proposed concept in 1859 by John Tyndall and further confirmed by Svante Arrhenius not quite 40 years later.
This CO2 build-up is a recent phenomenon as well. How do we know? Using ice cores to look at the history of carbon dioxide content in the air tells a damning story, one which shows a relative steady-state CO2 content over literally thousands of years, until the advent of the Industrial Revolution. The massive increase of fossil fuel use, starting in the late 19th century started changing the fundamental balance of chemicals in our atmosphere. It is our activity which has put a thumb on the scale of Earth’s balance. Detailed studies confirm both the sources and the mechanisms to the point where the qualified scientific community is in 97 percent agreement. The technical term is “anthropogenic,” but let’s speak plainly here, Mr. President: climate change is caused by US.
Enter the naysayers. As with nicotine in cigarettes and lead in gasolines and other products, those who have an interest in fossil fuels wish to maintain the status quo and their generous salaries by denying data which has been confirmed and reconfirmed. These merchants of doubt use their considerable monetary resources to create a counter-narrative to avoid the necessary change which admitting to the truth would mandate. Lobbyists harangue members of Congress, predicting loss of jobs and income if we dare to alter a lifestyle some Americans have lived with for generations. Meanwhile, atmospheric CO2 levels have long since passed 400 parts per million, a level not seen in even the oldest data recorded from ice cores to date. Weather patterns change radically along with ocean water levels, which will eventually require some equally precipitous changes in living conditions, not just in the United States but worldwide.
This is all verifiable fact, Mr. President. You can protest against it or wave it aside as though it didn’t exist, but there isn’t a belief or a wish or a spoken word in all the world which will change a genuine fact. It is the action of people to which we can trace these potentially dangerous meteorological and other developments. The blame is ours, no matter how you attempt to spin it. We can do nothing and doom the human species to eventual environmental suicide or … or what, Mr. Trump? What would you suggest?
Loren C. Miller, Jr.
To answer the anticipated question: no, I haven’t sent this yet. I don’t think Trump or Pruitt or anyone in the current White House staff is even remotely interested in hearing this message, and I’ve never been a great one for pissing into the wind. Still, in the wake of the March for Science, I still felt as though it needed to be written.
So I did.