This week’s must read: How Trump Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the (Climate) Bomb (Foreign Policy)
This week’s other must read: Climate Leadership in the Trump Era (Ensia)
This week in climate change, the ecoright choir for climate action grew louder and more persistent, with Florida’s Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who co-founded the House Climate Solutions Caucus and helped spearhead last week’s reintroduction of a Republican-backed climate change resolution, inviting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt to come to his district to “see the effects of sea level rise firsthand.”
“The residents in my Congressional District are already beginning to feel the effects of climate change in their daily lives. I invite you to visit anytime so you can see firsthand the very real threat climate change poses on our community, from rising sea-levels, coral bleaching, to threatening our freshwater supplies,”Curbelo wrote in a letter. Curbelo expressed concern over Pruitt’s earlier comments questioning the impact carbon dioxide has on the Earth’s climate. “Your statements contradict the conclusions not only of our best scientists but of your own agency. I ask that you please reevaluate your comments.”
“Reasonable people can disagree about how to respond to the risks of climate change,” Curbelo wrote, adding that there should be “little disagreement” over the need to act.
Other ecoright climate champions spoke out too, including Curbelo’s delegation mate, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. “We’ve seen firsthand how streets keep flooding from king tides,” she said at a press conference. She called Pruitt’s earlier climate comments “disconcerting and troubling.”
“We can’t deal in alternative facts, or alternative realities,” said Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina. “We have to deal with whatever there’s consensus about as a starting point in legitimate debates that do exist.” Sanford criticized Republican reluctance to take on the issue, “even though the scientific consensus has been clear…You talk to old-timers, and they say it’s changing.”
New Jersey’s Rep. Frank LoBiondo added: “It is far past time we moved beyond the debate from if our climate is changingit isto identifying and promoting solutions to mitigate potentially catastrophic effects.”
Talk is good, but action is better. Curbelo expressed confidence that the list of co-sponsors and those willing to speak out will continue to grow. He says the climate resolution co-sponsors are looking for climate-friendly policies “that can pass this Congress.”
And finally, this week’s climate jester of the week award goes to Maine state representative Larry Lockman, who introduced a bill to add a person’s belief (or lack thereof) in climate change to the state’s law protecting people from discrimination based on factors such as race, disabilities and sexual orientation. Lockman, who thinks it is an “open question” whether human activity contributes to climate warming, introduced a bill that would limit the attorney general’s ability to investigate or prosecute people based on their political speech, including their views on climate change. It would also prohibit the state from discriminating in buying goods or services or awarding grants or contracts based on a person’s “climate change policy preferences.”
Back to watching coverage of the healthcare debate. Enjoy your weekend, regardless of the weather!