8 June 2019   Leave a comment

The Washington Post is reporting that the White House blocked the testimony of Dr. Rod Schoonover, Senior Analyst, at the State Department to the Congressional Committee on Intelligence. Schoonover was supposed to testify on the National Security Implications of Climate Change. The Post characterizes some of the conclusions in the written testimony:

“The document sounds the alarms on several fronts, outlining two dozen different ways that ‘climate-linked stresses’ could affect human society. It identifies nine tipping points that could transform the Earth’s system, including ‘rapid melting in West Antarctic or Greenland ice masses’ along with ‘rapid die-offs of many critically important species, such as coral or insects’ and a ‘massive release of carbon’ from methane that is now frozen in the earth. It warns that since scientists have not been able to calculate the likelihood of these thresholds being reached, ‘crossing them is possible over any future timeframe.’

“The prepared testimony also notes that 18 of the past 20 years have ranked as the warmest on record, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, ‘and the last five years have been the warmest five.’”

The Trump Administration believes that these propositions have not been scientifically verified even though a large number of independent studies have come to similar conclusions. According to the Post:

” Trump has been steadfast in shrugging off warnings from scientists about the potential impacts of climate change, reiterating in an interview with Piers Morgan on ‘Good Morning Britain’ this week that he does not regret pulling the United States out of a 2015 global climate accord aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

“’I believe that there’s a change in weather, and I think it changes both ways,’ he said. ‘Don’t forget, it used to be called global warming. That wasn’t working. Then it was called climate change. Now it’s actually called extreme weather because, with extreme weather, you can’t miss.’

During the interview he blamed China, India and Russia for polluting the environment and insisted the United States has ‘among the cleanest climates,’ noting that the United States had suffered extreme weather in the past. ‘Forty years ago, we had the worst tornado binge we’ve ever had. In the 1890s, we had our worst hurricanes.’

“The United States remains the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, behind China.

“What the president meant by ‘worst hurricanes‘ is unclear. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the six most costly hurricanes on record have all occurred since 2005, and three — Maria, Harvey and Irma — have hit the United States during Trump’s tenure. The Galveston Hurricane of 1900, in which at least 6,000 people perished, remains the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history.”

Censoring expert opinion is not a healthy process in a democracy. The Administration has plenty of opportunities to present its own views without preventing contrary views from being aired. However, it is hard to defend the views of this Administration. In an interview, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the following comments:

“‘The climate’s been changing a long time. There’s always changes that take place,’ Pompeo said during an interview with the Washington Times published Friday, when asked whether he thought climate change was man-made and how best to address it. He did not mention anything about man-made pollution in his remarks.

“‘Societies reorganize, we move to different places, we develop technology and innovation,’ he added. ‘I am convinced, I am convinced that we will do the things necessary as the climate changes.'”

Pompeo is undoubtedly correct. But rather than accepting the reality of climate change, he would be better advised to do something to stop it.

Posted June 8, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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