Op-Ed

Our leaders lack vision to solve climate change. My hope lies elsewhere.

FILE -- An oil refinery in Port Arthur, Tex., Nov. 4, 2018. Without major action to rein in global warming, the American economy could lose 10 percent of gross domestic product by 2100, according to a report from 13 federal agencies. (Brandon Thibodeaux/The New York Times)
FILE -- An oil refinery in Port Arthur, Tex., Nov. 4, 2018. Without major action to rein in global warming, the American economy could lose 10 percent of gross domestic product by 2100, according to a report from 13 federal agencies. (Brandon Thibodeaux/The New York Times) The New York Times

This week, Trump’s twitter about being on the same page as his national security advisers belies his declaration of Fake News, since the entire nation saw on video what the advisers actually said to the Senate committee.

Sadly, Trump lost respect and credibility long before elected. He and his staff, under his tutelage, have spread more BS on the landscape over the last two years than an old west cattle drive.

Spending time trying to sort out the wheat from the chaff in the President’s shortcomings has become tiresome, making my mind wander to things much more important to daily life than wondering what Mike Huckabee must think about his daughter.

For instance, I thought about how much do daily distractions and chaos of national politics take away from solving serious problems. That led me to consider this: In everyday lives, people seek to know what the weather is going to be. We accept the report telling us what the current temperature is because we know that the temperature can be measured, and we take it as fact.

So… given that it’s possible to measure and record the temperature anywhere, anytime, why would anyone believe that the data couldn’t be analyzed to report accurately that global temperatures have increased dramatically since 1990?

Skeptics either have a poor understanding of basic math or have ulterior motives, probably rooted in self-interest. It’s the later factions who are not really skeptics but choose to ignore global warming, that interferes with movement toward workable solutions to proactively counteract the consequences.

The deniers’ arguments hinge on identifying the root causes. I think it’s healthy to seek root cause using the scientific method. It has been used to hypothesize multiple causes of global warming. The most difficult one for deniers to accept is that we are our own worst enemies.

Take personal responsibility; who me?

I admit to harboring initial skepticism about the claim of bovine flatulence contributing to global temperature rise. I have never witnessed a green cloud over our own Angus herd, but then again, I’ve driven through Kansas, and I know about the billions of hamburgers sold. And, I recall the evening after mom served up a large pasta meal. Our family dog whimpered and begged to be let out of the house while dad, my brothers and I sat in front of the TV, each one emitting our own brand of noxious fumes and a personal rendition of the theme to Bonanza; maybe there is something to the claim.

I have no skepticism regarding the scientific community conclusions that humans are the significant contributors to the rise in global temperatures. It just makes sense when you stop to consider the U.S. population has doubled since Elvis hit a lick on Ed Sullivan’s show. Added to that, the number of registered vehicles in the U.S. increased by 39% to 270 million in the relatively short period between when Madonna showed up wearing that cone bra outfit until Lady Gaga jumped off the top of the stadium at halftime.

All that added demand for fossil fuel consumption has to have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

Wandering thought brought me back to Trump, the denier-in-chief, and how unsuitable he is to lead. We need people with vision to lead the charge to acknowledge climate change, and unleash the political will to do what is required; people with real leadership and interpersonal skills who are brave enough to look beyond the next election cycle.

By the way, our two Senators… Mitch says he doesn’t care and doesn’t want to talk about it, and Rand was all for pinning the problem on humans and doing something about it, until changing his mind just before the 2016 primaries nine months later.

Hope lies with the current crop of millennial leaders; after all, they have skin in the game.

Reach Jim Brutsman of Cynthiana at jbrutsman@gmail.com.

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