Like It Or Not, Donald Trump Put Climate Change On The Map

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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The world didn’t seem to care much about global warming until President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate accord last week, according to Google search trends.

Public interest and media attention for climate change peaked June 2, the day after Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris accord, which the Obama administration joined in 2016.

The Rhodium Group’s Trevor Houser noted the spike in Google searches for “climate change” after Trump’s announcement. Google searches for “climate changed” also peaked in the U.S. in the last 30 days, as did searches for “trump” and “trump climate change.”

Trump announced he would make good on his campaign pledge to withdraw from the Paris Agreement June 1, saying that it was poorly negotiated and favored other countries over American workers.

Google trends aren’t perfect, but they are a pretty good measure of public and media engagement on an issue. Trump’s decision got vast amounts of people searching for information about global warming and what Trump’s decision could mean for the future.

Trump’s decision and the fallout ate up air time and front page space across the media. President Barack Obama himself responded to Trump’s withdrawal from the signature global warming achievement of his administration.

Ironically, Trump’s decision channelled more media and public attention to global warming in the last 13 years than environmental campaigners, at least according to Google.

The only time climate change generated a large spike in Google searches was in December 2009 after the Copenhagen climate summit. The Obama administration hyped up the summit, but it was largely seen as a failure.

However, the Copenhagen summit only generated 42 percent of the searches that Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement drew.

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