Update, 1/21/2016: With an epic blizzard expected to bury Washington, DC, this weekend and an epic caucus night quickly approaching in Iowa, I decided to revisit this post. It remains true that winter storms and cold weather are in no way inconsistent with global warming. But I can no longer stand by my assertion that Donald Trump is "probably not going to run for president." As Rick Perry would say: Oops.
Snow is falling across the Northeast, and millions of people are preparing for a massive blizzard. Due to the extreme winter conditions, my colleague at Climate Desk has issued the following advisory:
PSA: Big snowstorm ≠ proof global warming is a hoax.— Tim McDonnell (@timmcdonnell) January 26, 2015
It may seem obvious to you that the existence of extreme winter weather doesn't negate the scientific fact that humans are warming the planet. But that's probably because you aren't a climate change denier who's contemplating a run for the GOP presidential nomination.
Last year, for example, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) weighed in on the issue. "It is really freezing in DC," Cruz said during a speech on energy policy, according to Talking Points Memo. "I have to admit I was surprised. Al Gore told us this wouldn't happen!" Cruz said the same thing a month earlier, according to Slate: "It's cold!…Al Gore told me this wouldn't happen."
And here's former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on his Fox News show, after a major blizzard back in December 2009:
Which brings us to a couple of Republicans who are probably not going to run for president but who have nevertheless generated headlines recently by suggesting they might. Here's Donald Trump, during a cold snap last year:
This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps,and our GW scientists are stuck in ice— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2014
If you're a regular Climate Desk reader, you already know why all this is wrong. You understand the difference between individual weather events and long-term climate trends. You probably even know that according to the National Climate Assessment, winter precipitation is expected to increase in the northeastern United States as a result of climate change. But if you're a Republican who wants to be president, please pay close attention to the following video:
Master image: Screenshot from Media Matters/Fox News (2011)