David Leonhardt writes, in this morning's New York Times, that the number one story of the year has been climate change. It's been a year where the evidence of climate change has been everywhere:
I’ll start with the alarming parts of the story. The past year is on pace to be the earth’s fourth warmest on record, and the five warmest years have all occurred since 2010. This warming is now starting to cause a lot of damage.
In 2018, heat waves killed people in Montreal, Karachi, Tokyo and elsewhere. Extreme rain battered North Carolina and the Indian state of Kerala. The Horn of Africa suffered from drought. Large swaths of the American West burned. When I was in Portland, Ore., this summer, the air quality — from nearby wildfires — was among the worst in the world. It would have been healthier to be breathing outdoors in Beijing or Mumbai.
Yet most of our politicians are dinosaurs:
Amid all of this destruction, Trump’s climate agenda consists of making the problem worse. His administration is filled with former corporate lobbyists, and they have been changing federal policy to make it easier for companies to pollute. These officials like to talk about free enterprise and scientific uncertainty, but their real motive is usually money. Sometimes, they don’t even wait to return to industry jobs. Both Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke, two now-departed pro-pollution cabinet secretaries, engaged in on-the-job corruption.
During the recent Ontario election, California governor Jerry Brown came to the province to plead with its citizens not to ditch the cap and trade program which had been built by his state, Ontario and Quebec. Newly elected premier Doug Ford immediately killed the arrangement when he came to power. For the most part, those who govern us are wilfully ignorant. They focus on here and now. Future generations are, at best, a twinkle in someone's eye.
It's the young who will condemn us:
Deep down, do you really believe that future generations of your own family will be immune from climate change’s damage? Or have you chosen not to think very much about them?
We should be thinking of our children and grandchildren tonight.
Happy New Year.
Image: Tunis Daily News