Email #144: “honest inquiry”?

President Trump said last Saturday:

“My administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks. As we do so, we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.”

This is an extraordinary statement from someone who for ideological reasons denies the scientific community’s overwhelming conclusion about climate change.

Donald Trump said in 2015: “I’m not a believer in man-made global warming.”

He said in 2013: “Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!”

He said in 2012: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

Rather than advancing scientific research on the environment, his proposed budget would eliminate it. His budget director Mick Mulvaney explained: “We’re not spending money on that anymore; we consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that.” As a Congressman, Mulveney was an outspoken climate-change denier, referring to “baseless claims regarding global warming.”

It isn’t surprising then that Gallup reports an “11-percentage-point increase from 2016 to 2017 among Republicans saying the environment is excellent or good,” “the largest year-to-year change in Republicans’ environmental ratings since Gallup began asking the question.” This leap is a direct result of the ideologically based false information promoted by the Trump administration.

You, however, said in 2010:

“There is no doubt that the earth’s climate is changing. The earth and its climate are dynamic, and have changed throughout history even without human activity. We have reached a point where some experts concur that the earth is once again warming. Regardless of the reason, the debate over climate change should remind us that we should be good stewards of our planet.”

While you hedged about causes, your statement contradicts the President. Or at least his current opinion. In 2009, he co-signed a letter to President Obama expressing exactly the opposite opinion:

“We support your effort to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate challenge facing the United States and the world today. If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.”

Have you also reversed your opinion? You often support the President’s claims regardless of evidence: he said there was massive voter fraud and you agreed despite a complete absence of evidence; he said President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election and you called for an investigation despite a complete absence of evidence.

There is, however, overwhelming scientific evidence of “man-made global warming,” but the President doesn’t care. Does that mean you don’t care too?

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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