Welcome to Friday and climate Week En Review. As always, we strive to bring you the best ecoright highlights of the week. Did we miss something? Let us know!
This week’s must read: Seeing Red on Climate. “Climate change doesn’t have a political affiliation,” said RepublicEn.org spokesperson Jessica Fernandez. That and more from active members of the ecoright in this piece (including our own Alex Bozmoski).
Dear Mr. President: New York’s Rep. Elise Stefanik co-led a letter signed by over 100 members of Congresseleven Republicans, including Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Ryan Costello and Ileana Ros-Lehtinento President Donald Trump asking him to recognize climate change as a national security threat. “We have heard from scientists, military leaders and civilian personnel who believe that climate change is indeed a direct threat to America’s national security and to the stability of the world at large,” the lawmakers wrote. “As global temperatures become more volatile, sea levels rise, and landscapes change, our military installations and our communities are increasingly at risk of devastation. It is imperative that the United States addresses this growing geopolitical threat.” The President’s National Security Strategy, released in December, failed to list climate change as a risk.
Calling it like it is: Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in an interview with Politico, called out the Administration for its unwillingness to discuss climate change. “I’m dealing with an administration where some get really squeamish about anything that has the word ‘climate’ in it,” she said. “I’m not afraid to talk about that.” She went on to invite deniers to see for themselves. “I’m not afraid to bring anybody up to my state and show them the impacts we’re seeingwhether it is to our runways, our coastal communities or to take them out in the interior and show them the impacts of additional fires that we haven’t seen.” Murkowski indicated her committee will try again with comprehensive energy legislation, which Congress failed to pass last year. “I think that there is much that can be done to address some of the issues that we face with climate change that can be addressed through investments that we’re making.”
Support grows: In a new Public Opinion Strategies poll, 79 percent of self-described conservatives support the expansion of clean energy policies, and conservative voters are 36 percent more likely to vote for a candidate who also supports expansion of clean energy. “If a candidate wants to espouse these views and wants to really champion these issues, we’re seeing no pushback whatsoever,” according to Lori Weigel, who conducted the poll. Public Opinion Strategies is the same polling firm used by many Republican lawmakers.
Romney outlines plan: In a broad policy speech made in Salt Lake City at the Utah Economic Outlook and Public Policy Summit, former governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney said climate change is caused by human activity, something he wants a plan to combat. Romney has expressed frustration at GOP party leaders for walking away from conservation and environmental policies based on conservative principles.
Baby it’s hot outside: Federal agency scientists have concluded 2017 was one of the warmest years ever recorded. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded 2017 was the third-warmest, while NASA said it was the second warmest on record. The two government agencies use different methodologies to calculate global temperatures, but regardless, the past four years comprise the hottest in their 138-year archive. The six hottest years since 1880 have come since 2010, and no one born after 1977 has experienced a cooler-than-average year compared to the 20th century average. 2017 was also notable as the most costly on record for disasters in the United States. Sixteen $1 billion (or more) disasterssuch as Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria and wildfires out westracked up over $300 billion in damages.
Climate jester: It didn’t take long for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to earn his first 2018 jester designation for this comment: “The climate is changing. That’s not the debate. The debate is how do we know what the ideal surface temperature is in 2100?” Fortunately, Katharine Hayhoe has an answer for that!
And that’s all she wrote. Onward!