September 17, 2020

CNN's New Day has a John Avlon "reality check" on climate change and Trump.

"If you're still in denial about whether climate change is real, you ought to have your head examined," Avlon said.

"Or you might be President Trump. There are at least 87 wildfires burning across the western United States, consuming more than 4.7 million acres to date. Phoenix has seen a record 50 consecutive days over 110 degrees, while the skies over San Francisco have been choked with orange smoke, making it look like a dystopian sci-fi film. But it's all too real. With the Northwest now containing three cities with the worst air quality on earth, which shows you why comments like this --

I believe in clean air, immaculate air, I believe in clean water. All of those things. I am not a believer in climate change.

"...are dangerous nonsense. But of course, President Trump doubled down while visiting fire-ravaged California this week."

TRUMP: It will start getting cooler.

NEWSOME: I wish --

TRUMP: You just watch.

NEWSOME: I wish science agreed with you.

TRUMP: Well, I don't think science knows, actually.

"Science does know, Mr. President. So does any sentient being. Right now, there are five tropical cyclones in the Atlantic at the same time. That's only happened once before in recorded history. There are two major glaciers breaking apart in Antarctica, one the size of Florida. Scientists warn it could lead to runaway ice melt, lifting sea levels as much as 4 feet. And this comes on the heels of a chunk of ice about twice the size of Manhattan breaking off Greenland.

"This is happening right here, right now. And President Trump doesn't have a plan, because he does not believe in climate change. His administration censored official government reports and withdrew us from the Paris climate accords. His administration has erased or obscured the term "climate change" from government websites, scrubbed it from a list of national security threats, and he's continued to appoint climate change deniers to senior scientific positions.

"But despite all of this, President Trump declared himself the number one environmental president last week. He's hoping that you won't remember his move to repeal dozens of environmental regulations, including loosening restrictions on toxic air pollution and rolling back clean water protections. So it's perhaps no surprise that Scientific American just made its first presidential endorsement in 175 years. They've endorsed Joe Biden, because unlike President Trump, he's actually proposed a plan to deal with climate change.

"Here's the thing. Environmental policies and even climate change didn't used to be a choice between denial and doing something. The conservation movement was basically started by Republican president Teddy Roosevelt. Nixon created the EPA. And Ronald Reagan was president when the first major climate change legislation, the Global Climate Protection Act of 1987 became law. And it was sponsored by, you guessed it, Joe Biden. But now, while America burns, storms get worse and sea levels rise, the official position of the Trump administration on climate change can be summed up by this infamous quote.

What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening.

"And that's your reality check," Avlon concluded.

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