In his 60 Minutes interview last week, President Trump expressed doubts about the scientific evidence of climate change, saying “You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda….”
There are clearly powerful interests on the other side who fight efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The oil, gas, coal, and automobile manufacturers all have huge economic incentives to deny climate change. And they spend a lot of money to advance that political agenda.
But what political agenda does Trump think those climate scientists are advancing? Does he imagine that “Big Solar” has bankrolled tens of thousands of scientists over the last 30 years all in an effort to slowly drive oil companies out of business through mildly intrusive regulations? Or maybe he thinks these scientists just grew up hating coal so much that they dedicated their lives to getting multiple advanced degrees, and in relatively low-paying academic jobs, just so they could someday fabricate evidence about climate change?
The belief that climate change is just part of a scientific conspiracy is entirely circular. I don’t know anyone who hates coal, or oil, or cars out of spite. People don’t like them because science has demonstrated their negative environmental impacts. Those who believe in the conspiracy must believe that climate scientists produce fake scientific evidence, which in turn creates a generation of people concerned about the environment, some of whom become scientists who themselves go on to produce more fake evidence, continuing the cycle. Why would anyone go through all that trouble?