January 17, 2019
A few days ago, I came across an interesting article from a British newspaper. The headline, referring to a report by the Pentagon is, in part, “climate change will destroy us.” The subhead reads: “The US President has denied the existence of global warming. But a secret report predicts a looming catastrophe . . . .” The President in question was George W. Bush, the article from February, 2004. A representative of Greenpeace noted: “You’ve got a President who says global warming is a hoax .”
Nearly fifteen years have passed and the news is no different. Here’s a report from November 27, 2018: “President Donald Trump on Monday dismissed a study produced by his own administration, involving 13 federal agencies and more than 300 leading climate scientists, warning of the potentially catastrophic impact of climate change. Why, you ask? ‘I don't believe it,’ Trump told reporters.”
The Donald has a long history of dismissing evidence of dangerous climate change; here he is in 2014, tweeting as usual: “"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive." Given his intellectual limitations and biases, he isn’t likely to change his views, which is frightening. The report he doesn’t believe includes this:
Climate-related risks will continue to grow without additional action . . . . [Current efforts do not] approach the scales needed to avoid substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades.That isn’t just an unproven theory, or a natural cycle.
Observations collected around the world provide significant, clear, and compelling evidence that global average temperature is much higher, and is rising more rapidly, than anything modern civilization has experienced, with widespread and growing impacts. The warming trend observed over the past century can only be explained by the effects that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, have had on the climate.”Here are some results:
High temperature extremes and heavy precipitation events are increasing. Glaciers and snow cover are shrinking, and sea ice is retreating. Seas are warming, rising, and becoming more acidic, and marine species are moving to new locations toward cooler waters. Flooding is becoming more frequent along the U.S. coastline. Growing seasons are lengthening, and wildfires are increasing. These and many other changes are clear signs of a warming world.The report was released on the day after Thanksgiving, probably to minimize its impact. Compare the 2004 report: a former whistleblower at the EPA charged that “suppression of the report for four months was a further attempt of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.” The more things change, the more they stay the same. Again: the 2004 article noted the “administration’s close links to high-powered energy and oil companies. . . .” Trump has nominated a former lobbyist for coal companies to head the EPA.
All we need to ensure climate disaster is to have another term or two of Republican rule.
6. The Observer, 2/22/04
8. Quotes from Fourth National Climate Assessment, “Introduction,”