Americans are taking global warming far more seriously than in the past. According to a recent Gallup poll, 64 percent of U.S. adults say they are increasingly worried about global warming. The survey was conducted in March at the close of the warmest winter on record in the U.S. Those polled believe that global warming—resulting in climate change—is beginning to pose a serious threat and will eventually affect their way of life.
Whether it is the threat to national security, economic stability, vanishing water supplies, or the slow erosion of our food sources, we are all feeling, in some way, the adverse effects of burning fossil fuels. Most people consider the damage of rising seas, wildfires, droughts, flooding, polluted air and predicted food shortages to be the most serious threats. But there is a more immediate threat, one that is becoming more noticeable every day: the threat to our health.
Climate change is already increasing health risks to many Americans, especially the poor, children, and the elderly: asthma; respiratory illnesses; allergies; Lyme disease; water-borne illnesses; and increased exposure to contaminated food are all on the rise. At present, these health risks are having the greatest impact on the most susceptible Americans. And as more and more of us become subject to the same dirty air, polluted water, and contaminated food sources, its impact on even healthy, non-vulnerable people will be dramatic.
But, according to Donald Trump, climate change is a hoax. Trump promises to gut U.S. environmental regulations and has long signaled his belief that global warming is a ruse. Last month, in a rambling speech to his supporters in Fresno, Calif., Trump insisted that the California drought doesn’t exist and that, when he becomes president, he’ll turn the water back on.
“We’re going to solve your water problem. You have a water problem that is so insane. It is so ridiculous…I have received many, many environmental rewards. Rewards and awards! I have done very well environmentally...and if I win, we’re going to start opening up the water.”
In that same speech, Trump outlined plans to sweep away environmental regulations promoted by the Obama administration, scrap the Paris Climate Accord, and revive the Keystone XL pipeline— moves that will reverse years of gains.
Pretending that the drought, dirty air, poisoned water, and inedible food don’t exist is not a solution. Trump, like the vast majority of Republican Party elected officials, passes off denial as a public policy position. If Republicans just believe in Trump, and in their own mistaken and erroneous bombast, all of their troubles will be washed away. The day after Trump takes office, we’ll all wake up and everything will be great. This is the message that Trump and the Republican chain of command is selling, and for anyone not a believer in fairytales, the idea that climate change is not wreaking havoc around the globe is insane.
Believing that Donald Trump can flip a switch and fix everything with the snap of a finger is crazy. But that is what Republicans are always looking for: the quick fix. The Republican Party seldom wants to confront and deal with complex questions and policies that might require thoughtful analysis and forward thinking. And, as for cooperation and compromise, that’s the last thing on their mind. Yet, put it all together, and it perfectly explains why Republicans have chosen Donald Trump as their presidential nominee.
When it comes to climate change and its impact on the environment, you and I are approaching a critical election. Ecological issues such as climate change, carbon emissions and hydraulic fracturing will force us to think about key policy decisions that we want the commander-in-chief we choose to make. If Trump is elected and Republican congressional climate change deniers continue their current obstructionist policies, a healthy future for us, our children and grandchildren, looks dim. Trump and his cohorts will refuse to deal proactively to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, claiming it will cripple the economy. And, in spite of rapid technological progress in clean and renewable energy (solar and wind power is getting cheaper each year and growing quickly), they will do everything in their power to kill any and all public or private inducements to switch away from fossil fuels and, sadly, they will continue to promote the use of coal as a cheap alternative and supposed job producer.
And, oh, how the mega-corporations and filthy rich will prosper!