THEIR VIEW: Climate change is real

Published on Friday, 24 August 2018 14:26
Written by The Times Union of Albany

Denial won’t change the realities of global warming and climate change.

Millions of Americans of various religions and sects believe a great flood once wiped out nearly all of humanity as punishment for its sins. With equal fervor, many of those citizens refuse - despite hard evidence and scientific consensus - to accept that collective human activity can influence the climate.

That nearly religious zeal in denying the realities of global warming takes on new significance with the Trump administration’s proposal to roll back rules on greenhouse gas emissions.

The Affordable Clean Energy plan would reverse not only regulations meant to reduce carbon dioxide, but decades of efforts to promote cleaner air.

This gift to the coal industry would give some of the dirtiest power plants in the country a new lease on life, relieving them of President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan’s mandates for deep cuts in harmful emissions, including a nearly one-third reduction in carbon by 2030, and a 90 percent cut in sulfur dioxide. The policy would also slow the momentum toward clean energy alternatives. As of 2016, according to the Department of Energy, coal accounted for about 160,000 power generation jobs, compared with nearly 374,000 for solar.

But the debate over coal isn’t so much about numbers as it is about a political and ideological divide that the fossil fuel industry, its subsidized think tanks, and its beholden politicians work hard to cultivate and exploit. While most Americans believe global warming and human influence on it are real, a Gallup poll earlier this year found that 62 percent of Republicans say the threat is exaggerated, and barely half even believe the fact that most scientists say it’s occurring.

In a sense, then, many Americans treat this as a matter of faith. Even under an administration out to censor science, the EPA acknowledges that the Affordable Clean Energy proposal will mean up to 1,400 more premature deaths annually by 2030.

Human beings are in this together - in sin or in folly.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Friday, 24 August 2018 14:26. Updated: Friday, 24 August 2018 14:29.