Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Fox News’s Sean Hannity had a little chat on Monday evening about economics, climate change, and terrorism. It was pretty typical for a Trump interview, until the talk turned to air conditioning (a subject I happen to have done a little thinking about recently).
CBS reporter Sopan Deb captured the moment for Twitter:
Let’s fact check this for a moment, shall we? Here’s what really happened:
Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry attended a conference in Vienna where global leaders worked on an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the landmark 1989 agreement that banned chlorofluorocarbons, an industrial refrigerant formerly common in air conditioners that caused the hole in the ozone layer.
The goal of the Vienna amendment is for countries to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, the successor to CFCs, which have some serious negative consequences of their own. HFCs are a potent greenhouse gas and trap thousands of times more heat than carbon dioxide, making air conditioners a significant contributor to climate change. Kerry said the following from Vienna:
[On Thursday], I met in Washington with 45 nations — defense ministers and foreign ministers — as we were working together on the challenge of [ISIS] and terrorism. It’s hard for some people to grasp it, but what we — you — are doing here right now is of equal importance because it has the ability to literally save life on the planet itself.
He’s right. ISIS has killed thousands across the globe, but as terrifying as that is, ISIS will not spell the end of mankind. Climate change, however, could. Climate change impacts every aspect of life on earth, from where we live to the food we eat to the water we drink. Global markets, natural disasters … even war and terrorism.
In 2014, the Defense Department (not exactly a bunch of hippies) wrote: “In our defense strategy, we refer to climate change as a ‘threat multiplier’ because it has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we are dealing with today — from infectious disease to terrorism. We are already beginning to see some of these impacts.”
Donald Trump doesn’t see the connection. You can watch the entire segment here, or you could repeatedly hit yourself in the head with a heavy object. Either way.