Letter to the Editor: Trump true to GOP scientific illiteracy

Drought-2-650x435That climate change is beyond the grasp of so many in the Republican Party is not news. Their leaders nearly trip over themselves to proclaim their ignorance of global warming at every possible turn. Louie Gohmert, Lamar Smith, Steve King, my own representative at this embarrassing time in history, Barry Loudermilk, Ted Cruz, Mr. Snowball himself James Inhofe, and the list of Rs who get Fs in science goes on and on; each sounding as vacuous on matters of fact regarding the natural world, as the next.

So it’s also no surprise that the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, sits at the same table of willful ignorance as the aforementioned elected officials.

But Trump, being Trump, adds his own special “flair” when it comes to bragging about being scientifically ignorant.

Trump actually told Californians that they weren’t really in a drought. See the following article for more details:

Donald Trump tells Californians there is no drought

It’s difficult to write about this without devolving in to name-calling, but “boneheaded” just races to the top of my list of adjectives when I think about the sheer inanity of such a statement by a presidential nominee.  Why? Because here’s the science.

In the December 30, 2014 edition of Geophysical Research Letters, Daniel Griffin from the Department of Geography, Environment and Society at the University of Minnesota and Kevin Anchukaitis from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution published, “How unusual is the 2012–2014 California drought?” In this paper, the two scientists demonstrate that:

“For the past three years (2012–2014), California has experienced the most severe drought conditions in its last century. But how unusual is this event? Here we use two paleoclimate reconstructions of drought and precipitation for Central and Southern California to place this current event in the context of the last millennium. We demonstrate that while 3 year periods of persistent below-average soil moisture are not uncommon, the current event is the most severe drought in the last 1200 years, with single year (2014) and accumulated moisture deficits worse than any previous continuous span of dry years. Tree ring chronologies extended through the 2014 growing season reveal that precipitation during the drought has been anomalously low but not outside the range of natural variability. The current California drought is exceptionally severe in the context of at least the last millennium and is driven by reduced though not unprecedented precipitation and record high temperatures.”

Let me lift a key statement from their study. California was in the most severe drought in the last 1200 years. So whether it’s simply that Donald can’t read complicated things or that he doesn’t understand the scientific method or that he’s just willfully ignorant, the outcome is the same.

Inaction.

If this great orange buffoon (sorry, more name-calling I know) has the audacity to tell Californians to their collective faces that they aren’t in a drought, then we just have to assume that the guy is immune to evidence and reason. While that trait fits him right in with the fringe elements of the GOP, it does the rest of us who are interested in solving problems, no good whatsoever.

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