By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders
In these past few weeks, we have witnessed a preview of what will likely be common future weather. In recent years, we have experienced multiple “storms of the century” with still 83 more years to go. Katrina engulfed New Orleans, Irene clobbered Central New York and a year later Sandy inundated New York City. Harvey drowned Houston and Irma swamped large parts of Florida and devastated the Caribbean. Those storms and others caused unparalleled property damage and death.
The last two occurred just weeks apart and ironically in the wake of America’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord. That treaty was recognition by virtually every other nation on earth that climate change was real, and as Pope Francis observed a few days ago could threaten the very future of humanity if not addressed.
The evidence of existential destructive climate change is all around us. The global temperatures are steadily climbing, the polar ice caps are melting and the oceans are rising. As a result, massive storms are becoming more frequent and far more severe.
And yet the deniers of what is obvious are found right here in this country and notably in the White House. Conservative political pundits are even alleging that these storms and global statistics are being exaggerated by the liberal media to hype the case for climate change in order to hurt big business. Some have even said it is merely God displaying its power over humans to make some point.
Their conclusion is that we should not take seriously claims of planetary warming, in part caused by corporate activities, and do nothing.
But the science is unimpeachable even if it interferes with the politics of the president. Al Gore refers to this as an inconvenient truth. And he is right.
When France, Britain, Japan, India, Russia, China and 170 other countries agree on a matter, while they agree on little else, one should pay close attention.
But this White House marches to the beat of its own drummer. Not to be dissuaded by the facts, not when there are votes to be wooed from coal mining companies in rural Pennsylvania and auto makers in Michigan who oppose greater emission control standards. No, not when there is critical support to be won from those who put corporate profits ahead of the national interest and a common alliance with every other rational nation.
Shame on you, Mr. Trump, for burying your head in quicksand and turning a blind eye to a clear and present danger to our nation’s security.
A border wall will not protect us from the wrath of weather extremes or prevent the ravages of super storm torrents, and 100 mile-per-hour wind damage. It will not save the farmers from drought or the orange growers from ice storms. These are all impacts from climate change.
The good news is that it is not too late to take actions to slow the onslaught of these climatic events. That was precisely the intent of the Paris Accord that Mr. Trump so blithely and cynically tossed overboard.
If the double barreled devastation of Texas and Florida does not jolt this administration from its policies of isolation and denial then what will?
Ignorance may be bliss but willful negligence is more than irresponsible; it is president-assisted suicide.