Donald Trump Reiterates Outdated Climate Change Logic on Twitter

October 19th 2015

Alex Mierjeski

Republican front runner Donald Trump has echoed a common myth used to deny climate change. Early on Monday, Trump said that "a big fat dose of global warming" was needed to combat a cold front sweeping the U.S. Northeast, reiterating his stance that the existence of man-made climate change is dubious, and touting the misconception that cold weather means global warming does not exist.

"It's really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal," the real estate kingpin wrote on Twitter from his Manhattan home. "Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!"

The candidate's tweet claims that because of an early fall freeze (which some have said may actually be overdue for the region), the widely-accepted theory that our planet is warming, in part due to human activity, is false.

Trump's general argument is roundly criticized by climate scientists, who point out that while the weather describes short-term occurrences, climate describes long-term trends over time and space, where consistent change has occurred. In other words, while cold patches may empirically make it difficult to believe that the earth is warming, broader trends provide the clearest indicators of warming temperatures.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson explained the difference between weather and climate on "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey."


Many also note that climate change does not just mean warmer temperatures everywhere: in some areas, generally warmer temperatures will lead to harsher winters and other weather patterns, thanks to increased moisture in the air, according to one recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology study.

The logic behind Trump's tweet is nothing new in political circles. In January, Republican Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.) sought to make a similar point by bringing a snowball with him into the Senate chamber and posing the question: "Do you know what this is? It's a snowball."

"That's just from outside here. So it's very, very cold out. Very unseasonal," Inhofe, who is also the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, continued.


Inhofe was responding to two separate studies released around the same time—one from NASA researchers, the other from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—reporting concurrently that 2014 was the hottest year on earth in recorded history. On the heels of those studies, NOAA scientists wrote last month that 2015 was on track to take that title. In fact, this year was "extremely unlikely to lose its lead," they wrote.

Much in line with Monday's tweet, Trump has stated before that he needs proof of climate change to believe it. The businessman said as much in a radio interview last month, noting that "[u]nless somebody can prove something to me, I believe there's weather."

"I believe there's change," he continued. "I believe it goes up and it goes down, and it goes up again. And it changes depending on years and centuries, but I am not a believer, and we have much bigger problems."