|May 01, 2019|
EPA can't deny its own warnings on climate change
|Deep down, the people at the Environmental Protection Agency know. They must know.|
They work for an administration that insists climate change is a figment of pointy-headed scientists' imaginations. Every so often, President Trump hints some grudging acknowledgment that natural changes are being affected by 150 years of industrialization, but not enough to take serious action or even completely concede it.
Now the EPA is cautioning local governments to prepare for climate-induced crises. A report last week comes despite despite references by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler that global warming won't hit hard for another 50 to 75 years.
An update to a report entitled, "Guidance about Planning for Natural Disaster Debris," was released last week. It's directed toward "communities at increased risk from natural disasters due to climate change," according to the report.
The link between natural disasters and climate change couldn't be expressed more directly. Even the quasi-optimistic company line that climate change won't affect us until the end of the century - excuse the sarcasm, but well, that's not our problem, is it now? Most of today's adults won't be around by then, though some will, and after that, it's only their kids and grandchildren who will have to face it, right?
The report does what skeptics try so hard to deny, which is that regardless of the timetable or the severity, climate change is real. The report mentions climate change 22 times. It connects the trend to wildfires, floods and storms, with data backed up by the oceanic experts and meteorologists.
"Climate change" and "global warning" are often viewed as interchangeable, but the second phrase is only a portion of the first. Change includes not just warmer temperatures but more severe, violent and rapidly changing weather patterns of all kinds.
Wheeler said in March that the agency's new focus is on clean drinking water. He says this addresses an immediate threat, as opposed to climate change, which is where his "50 to 75 years (from now)" reference was heard.
Climate change is so daunting, immense, abstract (most of the time) and frankly scary that many people are intimidated to even acknowledge it, let alone tackle it. It's human nature to address only urgent problems, and this doesn't appear to qualify.
That is, unless you're forced to abandon your home in a tornado, flee for your life in a tropical storm or move from coastal settings because the water level is rising. All of those are happening at levels no living person has previously seen.
The EPA is right to concern itself with clean drinking water. It is wrong to ignore climate change altogether, though its hands are tied under the current administration. What it can start to do, and perhaps has reluctantly begun to do, is to concede the problem is real and that skeptics are doing future generations a terrible disservice by insisting otherwise.