I will admit that Paul Krugman’s op-ed in Friday’s New York Times was the motivation for writing this particular piece at this time. My regular readers know I am a devout reader of Dr. Krugman and almost always agree with him. Friday he wrote an op-ed entitled, What About The Planet, in which he asserts that tonight’s debate moderators have a responsibility to question Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on climate change so the American public can see the dangerous difference between the two. I agree!
There are a lot of serious issues in this campaign. Terrorism is undeniably a threat. Jobs and the economy pay the bills and therefore cannot be ignored. Nobody that I know likes paying taxes so who, how and how much to tax is important. In that same vein nobody likes their tax dollars wasted. Police-community relations have been problematic for decades and suddenly that is getting more deserved attention. I missed several issues and could go on for the entire article. Picking a single issue as the most important is difficult if not impossible. I’ll be daring and say it is climate change.
If we mess up on many of these other issues we can make a course correct down the line; in most cases without causing permanent damage for everyone. We have no such luxury when it comes to the planet. It is the only one we have and if we ruin it we have to adapt in order to live. That is on the assumption that we don’t pass a point of no return by exceeding our technical ability to adapt.
Many decades ago I learned that the first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it exists. Hillary Clinton and the Democrats realize that we have a climate change problem and it is largely caused by man’s activities. The Donald Trump Republicans believe it is a Chinese hoax meant to gain an unfair business advantage. Other Republicans led by people like Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe think the entire thing is a joke and doesn’t exist in the first place. Inhofe is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, (you can’t make this stuff up). Inhofe once brought a snowball onto the Senate floor to illustrate the non-existence of climate change. That is one illustration of the importance of taking the Senate back. A few of the more “enlightened” Republicans admit that climate change exists but deny that human involvement is a factor. The reality is that the overwhelming majority of scientists worldwide conclude that man’s activity is the major factor in climate change and the time to address it has almost run out.
Dr. Krugman and the New York Times deservedly have a much larger “megaphone” than I do; nonetheless I am joining them in calling on Sunday’s moderators Anderson Cooper of CNN and Martha Raddatz of ABC to question the candidates on climate change.
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