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What If THEY’RE Wrong About Climate Change?

In winter, it’s easy to forget horrific wildfires and hurricanes last summer and fall.

Harder to forget: the deadliest day of American tornadoes in six years, killing 23 in Alabama recently – not in summer, but barely in March.

President Trump shared his thoughts on winter, tweeting in January:

“Wouldn’t be bad to have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now!”

Trump’s glib dismissal of global warming (known now as climate change) belies the consensus of most scientists: it is a clear danger to America and the world – contributing to abnormal weather and extreme storms.

Last year, after historic wildfires devastated California, Trump advised they should “rake their forests” to prevent fires, as he heard they do in Finland. Surprised, Finland’s President denied they ever talked about raking forests; Finns posted sarcastic memes of themselves raking everywhere.

Experts explained the true causes: multi-year droughts, unusually dry forests, and high winds – abnormal weather patterns becoming the new normal now.

Californians who didn’t appreciate Trump’s advice were probably in shock, after realizing their new normal is a year-round fire season. In the past year, they’ve endured seven of the most destructive wildfires in their history, with the largest in December – not summer.

Trump had already dismissed climate change, proclaiming “I just don’t believe it” after the National Climate Assessment was released last November. The report, produced by 13 Federal agencies and more than 300 scientists, declared climate change real, accelerating, and partly caused by humans, especially burning fossil fuels. Trump repudiated it.

In 2012, he tweeted the global warming concept was created by China to disrupt American competition, repeating often it is “a Chinese hoax”.

More revealing (and perilous) was Trump’s 2017 announcement withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, negotiated and adopted by 196 countries in 2015. America joined Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries not participating in the Agreement; even they have since ratified it.

Climate-change deniers like Trump unearth rogue scientists to assert its evidence is unproven, or climate has always changed, or change is happening – but humans aren’t causing it (the current, enlightened-sounding rationale). Much like Big Tobacco found so-called experts to declare nicotine safe and not addictive, when society began addressing its dangers.

Deniers argue preventing climate change would hurt our economy. Perhaps somewhat true short-term; but long-term, new technologies to combat it would create MANY industries and jobs. America could lead the world and our economy could prosper – IF we could muster up the courage to take climate change seriously.

Deniers argue it would be foolish to spend money combatting climate change if the science isn’t absolutely certain, with no doubt (rarely the case in science), it’s caused by humans and preventable. They posit, “what if they’re wrong”?

It’s time the rest of us (and our leaders) argue the opposite. If we don’t address climate change soon, consequences predicted – with near unanimity in the scientific community – are dire: sea-level rise from melting glaciers; flooded coastlines; frequent major storms, wildfires, droughts, other weather-related disasters; millions of refugees fleeing resultant famine, riots, even wars.

What if THEY (Trump and fellow deniers) are wrong? Can we afford to take that risk?

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  1. Anthropogenic climate change has become so apparent as to have achieved the time honored aphorism of being ‘self evident’. After all, it can be argued that to cast doubt upon the reality of something that has become accepted by nearly 100% of those who study it throws the motives the caster into serious doubt, as well. Indeed, much of the dispelling of man-made climate change has itself been dispelled by a preponderance of the evidence and calls into serious question the motives of the ‘doubters’.

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