Friday, November 16, 2018

Trump and Republicans Ignore the Costs of Climate Change

Even if you can get beyond Trump's callousness, it is hard to understand how anyone could support his irresponsible economic policies.  This is about more than just the ballooning deficit associated with his tax cuts.

Trump's insensitivity is legendary but his comportment towards politicians dealing with hurricanes and wildfires has been nothing short of shocking. Trump's handling of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico paints a sadistic portrait of a president who just does not seem to care. He verbally assaulted Tallahassee mayor and Democratic Gubernatorial contender Andrew Gillum as Hurricane Michael was about to make landfall.

Although some may celebrate Trump's cruelty, this view is not shared by the majority of Americans as evidenced by the fact that many more Americans voted for Democrats than voted for Republicans in the midterms. In addition to sending a message to the GOP, this election offered a stinging rebuke of this president's policies and his tone. 

Contrary to the assertions of Trump and other Republicans there are not two sides to the scientific consensus on climate change just as there are not two sides to propagating hate in contemporary American politics. A vast amount of scientific research confirms the anthropogenic origins of global warming.

Trump's penchant for alternative facts was on display during the midterms when he paraded his caravan of lies as he demonized those seeking asylum in the US.  Trump and Republicans are hostile to science and fact based media because undermining the credibility of these institutions helps them to conceal their deceit.

However, their deception is getting harder to conceal. Destructive extreme weather events including hurricanes and wildfires make it hard for Trump and his Republican minions to deny the veracity of climate change. The facts can only be denied for so long and history will show that Republican climate denial and support for fossil fuels arrested responsible climate action at a critical junction in human history.

Although Trump has assumed the mantle of the world's leading climate denier, Republicans cannot blame this on Trump, they have been engaged in successive campaigns of climate disinformation for years before Trump ever came onto the political scene. 

The science is clear, climate change is increasing the duration and intensity of both wildfires and storms and the costs are staggering. People lose their homes and their livelihoods, some even lose their lives, yet Trump and the GOP refuse to have anything to do with climate economics.

The cost of US wildfires and storms keeps increasing. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the cost of suppressing wildfires was a record breaking $2.9 billion in 2017. The 2018 total is expected to be even larger. However this is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost in damages. According to Fortune, the most recent spate of California fires is expected to top $19 billion. Last year the Department of Commerce conducted an analysis that indicated the total annualized cost of wildfires at anywhere from $71.1 billion to $347.8 billion. As reported by CNN the cost of US storms this decade is estimated to be $356 billion. 

Republicans claim to be focused on the economy however, they refuse to even consider a cost benefit climate analyses.  Trump's climate inaction combined with his insane energy agenda and national inefficiency policy invite an economic and humanitarian disaster. 

The Richmond Federal Reserve released a report that found "evidence that higher summer temperatures could reduce overall U.S. economic growth by as much as one-third over the next century".  The federal government is exacerbating global warming and Americans will be forced to shoulder the costs.

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