In the first presidential debate of 2020, Trump was asked whether he believed in the science of climate change. His response shows he still does not consider climate change a priority.
Chris Wallace: "..over your 4 years, you have pulled the U.S out of the Paris climate accord, you have rolled back a number of Obama environmental records...what do you believe about the science of climate change, and what will you do in the next 4 years to confront it?"
President Trump: "I want crystal clean water and air, I want beautiful, clean air, we have now the lowest carbon --- if you look at our numbers right now, we are doing phenomenally...as far as the fires are concerned, you need forest management, in addition to everything else."
Instead of acknowledging the severity of climate change and the next steps America needs to take, Trump says he wants crystal clean water, and then states people were satisfied when America was pulled out of The Paris Agreement. He says forests are burning down "because of a lack of forest management." He does not explain how he intends to achieve "crystal clean water and air," and he does not fully explain how much of climate change he believes in.
Blaming forest management for forest fires, which are a direct result of rising temperatures, distracts Americans from the real reason for increased forest fires. The claim that America has great numbers is also misleading; in 2017 Americans emitted an average of 16 tons of carbon dioxide per person annually. As we near a 1.5 °C warming, we need an immediate change in how America depletes natural resources. This begins with taking accountability. President Trump, however, is incapable of taking accountability.
Chris Wallace: "If you believe in the science of climate change, why have you rolled back the Obama Clean Power Plan, which limited carbon emissions in power plants..."
President Trump: "Because it was driving energy prices through the sky."
Trump's immediate response is about the cost, rather than the quickly declining state of our planet. Despite the fact that we will have more irreversible damage if we fail to dramatically cut carbon emissions, Trump's immediate response is the inconvenience of the "cost." However, "cost" is something that can be worked with and overcome, rather than a 1.5 °C warming of the planet, which will and already has caused irreversible damage. In addition, investing in cleaner energy opportunities often costs significantly less money in the long run.
In his 4 years in office, Trump has reversed regulations made to prevent further damage to our environment. He doubts the science that clearly shows the consequences of irresponsible human behavior. With his authority, he has the power to enforce many regulations that could protect the environment and the American people that are experiencing the toxic consequences of global warming. But he has neglected to do this in his 4 years of presidency, and will continue to ignore it if elected for another term.