For the most part, the presidential hopefuls from both parties have skirted the threat of climate change – instead, lacing their stump speeches with biting criticism of the current U.S. strategy to defeat ISIS.
Despite this week’s deadly reminder of the gravity of Islamic extremism in Brussels, scientists argue strongly that the effects of global warming far outweigh terrorist attacks. Science tells us that 2015 was the warmest year on record.
On the same day that 31 people died in twin attacks in the Belgian capital, retired NASA scientist James E. Hansen published a paper stating that the catastrophic consequences of greenhouse gas emissions headed our way at a much faster rate than previously predicted. Both Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump disregard the growing consensus that global warming is real. Even two Republican mayors in Florida urged both men to stop denying the disaster that awaits the Earth and start coming up with policies to address the crisis.
Democrat Hillary Clinton is a believer. But it has been her opponent Bernie Sanders who has clearly articulated the dangers of global warming while on the stump.
Overreacting to Terrorism?
Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times
Are terrorists more of a threat than slippery bathtubs?
President Obama, er, slipped into hot water when The Atlantic reported that he frequently suggests to his staff that fear of terrorism is overblown, with Americans more likely to die from falls in tubs than from attacks by terrorists.
The timing was awkward, coming right before the Brussels bombings, but Obama is roughly right on his facts: 464 people drowned in America in tubs, sometimes after falls, in 2013, while 17 were killed here by terrorists in 2014 (the most recent years for which I could get figures). Of course, that’s not an argument for relaxing vigilance…
On the same day as the attacks, a paper by James E. Hansen and other climate experts was released arguing that carbon emissions are transforming our world far more quickly than expected, in ways that may inundate coastal cities and cause storms more horrendous than any in modern history. The response? A yawn….
To put it another way, this year’s election choices may shape coastlines 10,000 years from now. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have both mocked the idea of human-caused climate change, with Trump suggesting that it is a hoax invented by China to harm the American economy (he now says that last point was a joke).
Sen. Cruz Confronts the Dogma of Climate Change Alarmism
Texas Sen. Cruz Climate Science Hearing (Dec. 8, 2015)
And this call came from two Florida Republican mayors earlier this month ahead of a Republican debate on March 10.
In Miami-Dade, GOP Candidates Must Address Climate Change in Debate
Tomas Regalado and James Cason – Miami Herald
With all the national attention coming to South Florida, we encourage the candidates to address an issue that’s been given scant serious attention in this election, but that is vital to our future here: global warming.
To date, all of this year’s Republican presidential candidates either have rejected global warming outright or dismissed any solutions as too difficult or too expensive.
As staunch Republicans, we share our party’s suspicion of government overreach and unreasonable regulations. But for us and most other public officials in South Florida, climate change is not a partisan talking point. It’s a looming crisis that we must deal with — and soon.
Sea levels off the coast of Florida rose about eight inches in the 20th century.
Cancer and Climate Change
Piers J. Sellers – The New York Times
I’m a climate scientist who has just been told I have Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
This diagnosis puts me in an interesting position. I’ve spent much of my professional life thinking about the science of climate change, which is best viewed through a multidecadal lens….
I work for NASA, managing a large group of expert scientists doing research on the whole Earth system (I should mention that the views in this article are my own, not NASA’s). This involves studies of climate and weather using space-based observations and powerful computer models. These models describe how the planet works, and what can happen as we pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The work is complex, exacting, highly relevant and fascinating.
Last year was the warmest year on record, by far. I think that future generations will look back on 2015 as an important but not decisive year in the struggle to align politics and policy with science. This is an incredibly hard thing to do. On the science side, there has been a steady accumulation of evidence over the last 15 years that climate change is real and that its trajectory could lead us to a very uncomfortable, if not dangerous, place.
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders addresses climate change at a March 14 Town Hall hosted by MSNBC: