An open letter to President Trump

January 30, 2017

Dear President Trump,

You’re a busy man, so I’ll keep this short. It is apparent, from your choice of Myron Ebell to lead your transition team for the EPA and Scott Pruitt to lead it, that you walk the walk as well as talk the talk when it comes to climate change denial.

But – and I don’t know if it would ever occur to you to ask yourself such a thing – you might like to ponder the simple question “what if I am wrong?”

And, if you allow that you could be wrong, yet choose to press ahead with a course of action that is quite likely to wreck our chances of actually dealing with the problem if it is indeed real (spoiler: it is), the next obvious question is “how will I be remembered by future generations?” Assuming, of course, that there are some.

Perhaps you can discern that you are unlikely to be remembered fondly in this scenario. Hitler gets quite a bad press, and he didn’t cause irreparable damage to the planet. Your name would be cursed for as long as the planet remains supportive of human life.

There is, of course, an alternative, but it is one that I fear that you are unlikely to embrace given your steadfast refusal to acknowledge error. The alternative would be to accept the word of the scientists who have studied this, and commit American ingenuity and influence to actually solving the problem. Think of it as being your JFK “we choose to go to the moon” moment. They would teach it in years to come – the time when all seemed lost, but then President Trump stepped up and saved the world. Hooray for visionary President Trump! Maybe there’d be a Nobel prize in it. Maybe they’d find room for you on Mount Rushmore. Issue commemorative stamps, that sort of thing.

But something tells me you’re not going to listen. That’s OK, you won’t be around to see the worst of the consequences, and neither will Ebell or Pruitt. For that matter, neither will I (though I’ll probably be around longer than you are).

But my baby daughter will. If you’re wrong, and we do nothing, I imagine that by the time she’s a teenager all hope of preventing catastrophic climate change will be gone. What would you recommend I tell her?

Yours faithfully,

P.S. If you are reading this and are tempted to dismiss me as another liberal snowflake pushing the great climate change hoax (for reasons you will not be able adequately to explain), you are also welcome to ponder the question “what if I am wrong?” and, as a chaser, “what knowledge or understanding of the science do I have that entitles me to believe that I am right?”

P.P.S. My qualifications? Well I read Natural Sciences here, I understand the basics, and I know enough to know that I should defer to people who have actually studied it properly. I’m only too aware of Dunning-Kruger.

P.P.P.S. Yes, I know Trump will never read this.

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