World

As cold wave sweeps US, Trump makes light of climate change

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Thursday made light of climate change science as an Arctic chill settled on much of the central and north-eastern United States and Canada, forcing people indoors, stranding motorists and complicating firefighting duties.

In the US, the National Weather Service said that "dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills" were pummeling much of the central and eastern part of the country.

"In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year's Eve on record," Trump tweeted from his sunny Mar a Lago resort in Florida, where he is on holiday.

"Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!"

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo warned residents to prepare for "dangerously cold weather," with below-normal temperatures expected to be between minus 12.7 deg C and minus 6.6 deg C throughout today.

Mr Trump's missive quickly drew Twitter eye-rolls from many users exasperated that the US president could use the cold weather to mock the science behind climate change.

"Weather is not the same as climate," tweeted Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington state. "The president should be able to understand that. It isn't hard."

Mr Jon Foley, executive director of the California Academy of Sciences, wrote: "Believe it or not, global climate change is very real even if it's cold outside Trump Tower right now.

"Just like there is still hunger in the world, even if you just had a Big Mac."

'IRRESPONSIBLE'

The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang on Wednesday had tweeted: "US to be coldest region in world relative to normal over next week."

"Please note rest of world will be much warmer than normal lest anyone try to claim pocket of cold in US debunks global warming, which they will invariably and irresponsibly do," the weather reporters said.

Mr Trumpdismissed global warming as a Chinese hoax, vowed to quit the 2015 Paris accord and placed fossil fuel allies in key environmental posts.

The cold wave caps a year that saw ferocious hurricanes, heat waves, floods and wildfires wreak global havoc. - AFP

WORLD