On Friday, November 23, the Trump administration released a report that warned of the catastrophic impacts of climate change the world could face in the near future. This report came from 13 different federal agencies and over 300 climate scientists, yet, according to CNN, President Trump “didn’t believe it” after reading only “some” of the report. First of all, let me say that releasing this report on the day after Thanksgiving was problematic. Out of all the days of the year, it is extremely unlikely that the American public was going to pay any attention at all to a report released on Black Friday—a day when most were too busy trying to get a deal on a new flat screen TV to learn of dire news about the state of our planet. I see this timing as a deliberate attempt on the part of the Trump administration to ensure that this report fell under the radar. Even more problematic is the fact that the president is still denying the increasingly real threat of climate change, even when it is his own administration that is drawing attention to it.
In 2018, we can no longer refuse to acknowledge that our earth is warming. While we can debate about what should be done about it, we cannot say that it isn’t happening at all. When most world leaders are in agreement about this fact, it is an embarrassment that our own president still comes out in denial against it and calls it a Chinese conspiracy. The effects of climate change are already becoming glaringly apparent. Glaciers are shrinking and plant and animal ranges are shifting. They are no longer hypotheticals that could happen in the future. In fact, as the report stated, climate change will “increasingly threaten the health and well-being of the American people.” It is the responsibility of the president to look out for the well-being of the people of this country. By refusing to even acknowledge a problem that has the potential to do great harm to Americans, the president is failing to do his job. We cannot afford to continue debating the reality of climate change. We need to be debating what we should do about global warming—we need to take action.
Trump’s denial of this report is another sign of how his administration has in many ways been dysfunctional and rife with internal conflict. It doesn’t send a strong message to the American people and to the world when the administration itself cannot agree. Regardless of the issue, the administration should at least be consistent. When there is so much disagreement in Congress and in our highest courts, the executive should be one of the few places in government that has some unity.
The time when we as a nation stop living in denial of climate change is long overdue. Whether our leaders choose to believe in it or not, it is only going to become more and more of a problem as we move further into the 21st century. While it may be too late to prevent climate change, it is not too late to find ways to mitigate the effects of it, but only if the governments of the world take action now. As one of the most powerful countries in the world, the United States has the responsibility to be one of the leaders of this cause. In denying this report, the president is sending a clear message to the rest of the world that our nation does not want to step up to this responsibility.
Contact Jace DeMar at [email protected]