OZAUKEE PRESS EDITORIAL: Breaking News, It's Not A Hoax!

We write this editorial with apologies to the Cedarburg subscriber who threatened in a letter to the editor to cancel his Ozaukee Press subscription and use the refund to buy fuel for his gas-guzzling SUV if we ever opined on the subject of global warming again.

Sorry, sir, but we feel liberated by your fellow climate change skeptic, Donald Trump, who said on the 60 Minutes television program Sunday, “I’m not denying climate change.”

To make clear he hadn’t misspoken, the president added emphatically, “I don’t think it’s hoax.”

If Trump, who wrote on Twitter, and has repeated often at his rallies of cheering supporters, that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” can be converted, there may be hope that others who say climate change is a hoax will see the light . . . or feel the heat.

No word yet on whether U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama has received the memo.

Brooks said at a hearing of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee that the cause of the rising ocean levels was not global warming but pieces of the White Cliffs of Dover that are falling into the English Channel.

In case anyone thought he was joking, he explained, “Now you have got less space in those oceans because the bottom is moving up.”

Still silent at press time was Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, who once brought a snowball to the Capitol as evidence that he was right to claim in the book he wrote, entitled “The Greatest Hoax,” that scientists are committing a fraud on the public by warning of the dangers of the warming planet.

And we have to assume that Gov. Rick Scott of hurricane-ravaged Florida was shocked to learn that Trump had uttered the words “climate change.”

That’s a no-no in Scott’s administration, whose agencies have been forbidden to use the term lest it be construed as a hint that climate change exists.

The presidential epiphany was welcome but hedged.

He also said in the interview that climate change might not be caused by humans and offered the prediction that the climate will “change back again” on its own.

Members of his administration disagree.

Last year federal agencies conducting scientific climate research determined that there was “no convincing alternative explanation” for global warming other than carbon emitted into the atmosphere by humans.

Last month Trump’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a statement saying the earth will warm seven degrees by the end of the century, a temperature increase called catastrophic by scientists that would, besides other disastrous effects, leave parts of Manhattan and Miami under water.

The report claimed there is no hope to avert the consequences of global warming—the planet’s fate is set and can’t be changed.

It turns out the statement was issued to justify the Trump administration’s decision to cancel the more stringent fuel economy standards put in place by the Obama administration to take effect in 2020 on the grounds that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions would come too late to help save the planet.

In other words, climate change is inevitable, so relax and enjoy it.

The international panel of weather scientists that prepared a report for the United Nations published this month also predicts dire warming, but concludes that a forecast temperature increase of 2.7 degrees by 2040 can be mitigated by immediate carbon-reducing action, including taxes on carbon emissions and ending coal burning.

President Trump’s conversion has not progressed enough to approve of either of those remedies, and his plans to increase coal burning and withdraw from the Paris climate accord proceed unabated.

The arguments will go on for a while.

A few members of Congress will still make fools of themselves with their cockamamie weather theories and an ever shrinking band of non-believers will try to hold out in their crumbling fortresses of denial.

But at a more reasonable level, the debate is over.

The consequences of global warming are not lurking on a distant horizon; they’re here now.

There is a consensus among scientists that Hurricane Michael gained the power to become one of the most destructive storms in the history of the U.S. from water heated as a result of what the Florida’s governor says does not exist—global warming.

Americans with lingering doubts might do well to set aside the more esoteric worries about climate change—the dying coral beds, the extinction of animal and plant species, the displaced masses of humans that will turn into climate refugees, the degrading of civilization—and think about their children and grandchildren.

Global warming is threatening their future by making the world a more dangerous place to live. Isn’t that enough to justify demanding that our political leaders stand up for them and find the spine needed to cut the carbon that is fueling climate change?

Note to our climate change-doubting subscriber: The foregoing question is rhetorical, but we’d love to hear your answer.

And we hope you’re still a Press reader when the next global-warming editorial appears. We don’t intend to ignore the man-made calamity that threatens our world.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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