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Hurricanes, Floods, Fires, Earthquakes and Other Climate Events to Deny

Don Rose 12 September 2017 One Comment

For a couple of decades now, every time there is a mass shooting the country seems to be on the verge of a serious discussion about gun safety and how to achieve it. But thanks to the good offices of the National Rifle Association and its kin, we always cut the discussion short–if it gets under way at all.


This past couple of weeks have seen even more death and destruction and suffering  caused by record climate events than all the  recent shootings combined, but whenever someone raises man-made climate change as a possible reason,  there are those who tell us it is an inappropriate time to bring up the topic. This is partly understandable because even as I write this, Florida is suffering an unprecedented hurricane with another possibly on the way and we may not know the extent of the devastation for weeks to come. We have to concentrate on help and rehabilitation.

But when will we get down to serious analysis? In the view of our government and its science-denying supporters, that time is never. Trump chose as head of the Environmental Protection Agency one Scott Pruitt, a longtime climate-change denier who has actually sued the agency he now heads and abolished the term from EPA documents. Compounding the problem are fellow deniers Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

In fairness, other cabinet members such as Defense Secretary James Mattis acknowledges climate change and though he says little about it, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the CEO of ExxonMobil, which belatedly began to acknowledge the problem and took tiny recognition of the petroleum industry’s role. But don‘t expect any help from them.

Trump himself? I suspect that although he made the reprehensible move of pulling the United States out of the hard-won Paris accords on climate, he has some sense that climate change is both real and man-made–but playing to his political base he becomes the denier in chief. It ‘s ironic that one of the world’s most advanced scientific nations has such mindless leadership.

Need I reiterate that the evidence is overwhelming? Scientists by the thousands have weighed in to agree, while only a tiny handful–often in the pay of a polluting industry–question it. They say, at best, that this is simply a cycle that the earth undergoes every few centuries or so. Some will say that today’s science may be as flawed as past beliefs once said to be “science” such as phrenology or eugenics.

Not to get overly political, but most of the current devastation has occurred in Texas and Florida, plus some adjoining southern states, all of which went for Trump. The South earlier experienced some of the worst winters in its history while in Chicago our last couple of winters have been relatively mild. Will minds change?

What will it take to wake up the ordinary denier, who does not have a financial interest in maintaining his or her position?  I suspect the only thing that will change Trump is an encounter with Hurricane Mueller.

Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer

image 1950 Hurricane hits Miami Beach

One Comment »

  • DK said:

    Were the major hurricanes of 1938 and 1945 also products of climate change?

    Are the Chicago Cubs to blame for winning pennants during the same two years?

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