News from the Natural World: On Monday, June 15, a group of environmental scientists publicly corrected President Trump on his assertion that greenhouse gases are, in fact, beneficial because “aren’t greenhouses good?”
The term, the scientists explained in their televised interview, actually refers to the gases that absorb and emit energy in the form of heat, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2, methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and ozone (O3). Trapping heat, these gases help warm the Earth’s surface through the greenhouse effect. While the greenhouse effect heats the planet enough to make it inhabitable, excess heating can melt polar ice caps and glaciers, leading to rising sea levels that threaten the coasts. Interrupting this balance can also permanently alter biomes and their flora and fauna, as well as natural weather patterns, perhaps resulting in more severe hot and cold temperatures.
This response comes in light of a claim on a comment President Trump made at a press conference earlier the same day. When asked about whether he would address climate and environmental policy in his 2020 platform, he replied, “There’s nothing to worry about. Greenhouse gases. Those sound good to me. Greenhouses grow plants, right? How can something with ‘greenhouse’ in the name be bad? Why would you call it something like that even though greenhouses are good? These gases must be helping us.”
Trump Reminded Greenhouse Gases Are Bad
Will Childs, a 6th grade science teacher at Wilson Junior High School in Oakland, CA, says that his students know all about greenhouse gases. “It’s alarming that my 11 and 12 year olds know more about a dire environmental issue than the President of the United States.”