In late November 2020, social media users shared memes and stories mocking U.S. President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter, White House adviser Ivanka Trump, for boasting on Twitter that emissions that cause climate change were at their lowest point in decades.
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, some observers noted, was largely responsible for the drop in energy consumption and thus emissions. Here’s an example of one such meme, posted to Facebook:
Both of these are real tweets. On Nov. 24, 2020, Ivanka Trump did tweet, “FACT: Greenhouse gases generated by the U.S. will slide 9.2% this year, tumbling to the lowest level in at least three decade,” and tagged the Environmental Protection Agency.
Greenhouse gases produced in the U.S. were indeed down 9.2% from 2019, according to an analysis by Bloomberg. Bloomberg cites the pandemic as the reason for the dramatic drop-off, a fact that Ivanka Trump left out of her tweet.
Her father has been widely criticized for his management of the pandemic, which has curbed travel as Americans live with varying levels of local stay-at-home orders meant to mitigate the virus’ spread. As of this writing, more than 260,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus.
The drop in emissions attributable to the pandemic isn’t expected to have a noteworthy impact on climate change, according to the United Nations, which reported that a projected 2020 drop represents a “tiny blip,” noting that the “resulting impact on the carbon dioxide concentrations that contribute to global warming would be no bigger than normal annual fluctuations,” per Reuters.
The president’s rollbacks of environmental rules and regulations over the course of his term in office, meanwhile, are expected to have a lasting, harmful impact on climate change.