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President Trump mocked the idea of global warming in a tweet Thursday, making one of his first (if not the first) such public comments on the topic since entering the White House almost a year ago.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Why it matters: Trump has tweeted in the past that he thinks global warming is a hoax, but that was in 2012 and he has not focused on the topic much at all in his Twitter activity as president. This tweet shows he's still openly mocking mainstream climate change science, even without directly questioning it.

Fast facts: Most scientists agree human activity, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels, has been the primary contributor to Earth's aggregate temperature going up this past century. That does not mean, though, that freezing cold weather, like the East Coast is experiencing right now, won't happen in the future in many parts of the world. Climate change science is much more complicated than that, but citing cold weather is still a favorite line of politicians and others who doubt climate change is happening. Sen. James Inhofe, Republican from Oklahoma, threw a snowball on the Senate floor in February 2015 to mock global warming.

One level deeper: Trump's tweet was also mocking the Paris climate deal, a global accord virtually every country in the world except the United States supports. It calls on countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but as it stands the commitments wouldn't cut emissions to the levels most scientists say is needed. America's commitment under President Obama was actually relatively moderate -- up to 28% cut in such emissions by 2025 based on 2005 levels, but the Trump administration pointed to conservative groups' studies showing it could cripple the U.S. industrial economy while other countries, notably China, were called on to do less.

Between the lines: The Trump administration released without political influence a statutorily required report earlier this year confirming in great depth that human activity is driving climate change. Trump's tweets get a lot of attention, but make sure to also watch what the administration does or doesn't do on this issue.

The bottom line: Words matter, and so do the president's tweets. His perspective on this issue is influencing his most ardent followers, a new poll suggests. A survey released in October from George Mason University found that just 21% of conservative Republicans think global warming is mostly human-caused, a decrease of nine points since earlier this year.

One more thing:

The semantics around climate change, or global warming, are almost as divisive as the science itself. Global warming was the default term up until the last decade or so, when climate change became more popular among those urging action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. That shift was partly to respond to comments like Trump made Thursday by clarifying that a higher global aggregate temperature does not mean the entire planet would be getting universally warmer.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 4 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker

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