The president and our changing climate

U.S. House of Representatives

The Trump administration needs to seriously consider what the majority of American scientists and others throughout the world are saying about changes in our global climate, and the adverse effects that human and industrial behavior is having on our planet.

If we continue to do nothing, there will be severe consequences to our environment, our food supply, coastal communities and to our health, according to scientists.

Last summer, when a brutally harsh storm caused fatal flooding in South Texas and most recently when historic storms devastated parts of Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, the president remained silent in the face of hard scientific data that demonstrates a direct relationship between life-threatening weather patterns and our government’s refusal to address the realities of climate change.

Again, there was silence just two weeks ago when a United Nations science report stated that placing a price on carbon dioxide emissions, a leading cause for adverse changes in the world’s climate, was crucial to curbing the impact that a warming climate was having on communities, countries, agriculture and people.

The highly acclaimed United Nations report states that the number of poor people in the world will grow because of increased food shortages, there will be more wildfires and we will witness the death of the world’s coral reefs within the next 25 years if leaders and governments do not move quickly.

Even 40 years of research by a professor who was recently awarded the Nobel Prize for science has failed to get the administration to act.

“We are actually going backward in the United States with the disastrous policies of the Trump administration,” said Professor William D. Nordhaus, an economist at Yale University who was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences.

The policies of the Trump administration are not constructive and are behind scientific facts, Nordhaus said. “We are gambling with the future of our planet,” he said.

The president made a serious mistake in June 2017 when he withdrew our nation from the Paris Climate Agreement, which had been endorsed by the Obama administration.

The accords, signed by nearly every nation on the face of the earth, united them to face the effects of climate change by agreeing to lower the amount of emissions each country placed into the atmosphere.

While withdrawing from the agreement, President Trump said that the treaty was “unfair” to the United States. The president was incorrect. The treaty was more than fair to our country.

The president’s real problem with the accord is that he had promised supporters in coal-producing states that he would fight for their jobs and their industry, while knowing that our nation’s economy was moving away from coal.

The facts speak for themselves. If we continue to do nothing, we will have a catastrophe on our hands, and we will only have ourselves to blame. Hopefully, the administration will soon recognize the pressing realities. The alternative is more violent storms, more deaths and the destruction of property. Certainly, the American people deserve more than that.

U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson is the ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and the highest-ranking Texan on the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure. She represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas.

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