In the book, “When Climate Change Hits Home,” by Diogo Castro Freire, the impact of climate change on all of us is defined. It ranges from preparing for less ski business in Aspen to lifting houses by two feet in Norfolk to holding back the sea water in Miami as it seeps through the porous limestone to depleted fishing in New England waters to more severe forest fires and droughts.
A few quotes will help speak to the lessening number of doubters that still remain as well as show the severity.
Per the International Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), 195 countries approved this summary position in November, 2014 in Paris:
“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen….Anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas emissions….are extremely likely (95% probability) to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”
Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell said at a speech at Center for Global Energy Policy in September, 2014:
“Meeting energy demand is a massive challenge. But, so too is the need to tackle the real and growing threat that climate change poses.”
Ken Cohen, VP of Public and Government Affairs, ExxonMobil wrote in “ExxonMobil Perspectives” in May, 2015:
“ExxonMobil takes global climate change seriously and the risks of rising greenhouse gas emissions warrant thoughtful action.”
Katharine Hayhoe, a renowned climatologist working at Texas Tech University said at a conference in DC in the summer, 2015:
“Seven billion people now live on the planet and two-thirds of the world’s largest cities are within two feet of sea level.”
The World Health Organization estimates in 2015:
“There are at least 150,000 annual deaths worldwide that can be attributed to climate change, but most people fail to see the connection.”
Not included in the book, which is a quick read given the subject, are three meaningful quotes from our leading US Presidential candidates
Former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a speech at the League of Conservation Voters in December, 2014,
“The science of climate change is unforgiving, no matter what the deniers may say. Sea levels are rising; ice caps are melting; storms, droughts and wildfires are wreaking havoc. … If we act decisively now we can still head off the most catastrophic consequences.”
Real Estate Developer Donald Trump has referred to climate change or global warming as a hoax on several occasions. Here are just two:
In a tweet on November 6, 2012, Trump wrote “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.”
On December 30, 2015, Trump told the crowd at a rally in Hilton Head, S.C., “Obama’s talking about all of this with the global warming and … a lot of it’s a hoax. It’s a hoax. I mean, it’s a money-making industry, okay? It’s a hoax, a lot of it.”
It should be noted per Politifacts that Trump has backed off, then doubled and tripled down on the hoax issue quite often depending on who is talking with. But, when it comes to money, Trump’s golf development in Ireland petitioned the Irish government in writing for permission to build a sea wall to hold back the rising sea levels due to climate change.
I have purposefully ended with these quotes from the two leading Presidential candidates. In addition to all of the reasons that make Trump a dangerous candidate, what is not talked about enough is we can ill-afford a President who does not see climate change and its man-made influence as a serious matter and who will take further steps to ameliorate its impact.
And, it is not just Trump. Sixteen of seventeen GOP Presidential candidates would not support climate change as a major issue that we need to address. Two Republican governors, Rick Scott of Florida and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, told staffers to not use the words climate change or global warming in public speeches or papers. George W. Bush had his White House Council on the Environment alter any papers that crossed his desk to delete references to climate change or global warming.
In this case, party matters. There are four candidates running for President, but only one who does not recognize climate change for the problem it is – Donald Trump. Let me close with a key reason why I left the Republican Party in 2006 – if they cannot recognize one of the greatest issues facing our planet, then why should I trust them with any other issue. And, that was ten years ago.