The list of crimes Donald Trump has committed against the planet, in just two years, is already so impeachably long that his slippery-fish climate denial registers as hardly more than a footnote. “I have a natural instinct for science,” the president bragged to the Associated Press Tuesday, a week after the U.N.’s IPCC raised the alarm on global warming that is much faster, and more horrifying, than it had acknowledged before. “And I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture,” said Trump. On Sunday, Lesley Stahl pressed the president on his contention that there were scientists saying that extreme weather had been worse in the past: “Who says that? ‘They say’?” Trump responded, defensively, “People say. People say.”
It was an especially grotesque demonstration of bad faith, given that just weeks ago, his administration had announced that, as a matter of climate policy, it was now assuming a worst-case global warming scenario — four degrees Celsius this century, an assumption suggesting that any effort to regulate American emissions would be effectively pointless. In the blink of an eye, the Republican Party seemed to pass directly from insisting that global warming isn’t happening to taking for granted a climate hellscape so inevitable that there’s nothing we can, or should, do about it.