Sunday, July 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Yep, humans are main cause of climate change

The Trump administrationís junk science on global warming has taken another major hit, as a report by 13 federal agencies made crystal clear that human activities are now "the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid 20th century." In a large sense the observation was nothing new; this latest report only underscores earlier studies that blamed a warming planet on the burning of fossil fuels and other man-made activities. But now the nation can see the huge divide between the findings of its best scientists and the policies of this White House. Itís a collision course that puts every region in America at risk of more damaging and costly hurricanes, flooding, droughts and other extreme disasters.

The draft report, part of a study required by Congress and conducted every four years, found that global average air temperatures increased about 1.8 degrees over the 115-year period ending in 2016. The study noted that "this period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization," with the last three years breaking records for climate-related weather extremes and being the warmest on record across the globe. These trends are expected to continue, with continued declines in Arctic sea ice, worsening flooding and storm events and other impacts that will threaten public health and safety, agriculture and the nationís infrastructure.

The agencies said there is "no convincing alternative explanation" for warming over the last century, declaring that "human activities are now the dominant cause of the observed trends in climate." That should end the Trump administrationís war on facts. For several years, Donald Trump described global warming as a Chinese-inspired hoax intended to weaken the U.S. economy. As president, he appointed climate deniers to key posts, including Scott Pruitt as Environmental Protection Agency chief and Rick Perry as secretary of energy. The report highlights why Americaís space agency, NASA, which plays a leading role in monitoring the climate, needs a better leader than Trumpís nominee, U.S. Rep. James Bridenstine, a Republican climate skeptic in Congress.

The White House may have made a pragmatic decision not to block the reportís release out of concern for inflaming the tax cut debate in Congress. But that doesnít signal any change in the administrationís hostility toward a cleaner energy agenda. The U.N. climate conference in Germany is the latest reminder of how Trump weakened U.S. influence by withdrawing America from the 2016 Paris climate accord. How can the United States lead on such an important global economic, health and security issue if the administration cannot even get the science right?

Of course, getting the science right is not Trumpís priority. Trump is more interested in promoting a dying industry of the dirtiest fuels. The real news in the latest federal report is how well scientists are tying the knot between climate and extreme weather, and of how plainly they are speaking about the health and economic implications of a warming planet. The scientists also contributed to the public debate by pointing out that the impacts of warming ó rising seas, more extreme weather events ó are happening now, and in all parts of the country, whether in the form of routine flooding on sunny days to the intrusion of seawater into the drinking water supply.

The scientistsí report is a fresh break from the fake facts on warming this administration has peddled. It will help in providing a baseline to challenge the more unsubstantiated policies arising from this White House.

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Editorial: NFL calls wise time-out on disciplining protests

The National Football League kept an embarrassing situation from becoming even worse by shelving its new policy clamping down on players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.The league announced late Thursday it would suspend the 2-month old p...
Published: 07/20/18
Editorial: Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhornís responsible budget

Editorial: Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhornís responsible budget

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is shoring up his final year in office with the proposed city budget he released Thursday. The plan includes no big-ticket items, opting instead to maintain ongoing investments in parks, roads and other basic public services....
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18

IRS making Ďdark moneyí darker

Under a perverse interpretation of federal law, tax-exempt nonprofit organizations supposedly devoted to "social welfare" can spend large amounts of money to influence elections without publicly disclosing the identities of their donors. But instead ...
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18
Editorial: Ferry is fun but should pay for itself in long run

Editorial: Ferry is fun but should pay for itself in long run

The CrossBay Ferry appears headed for another round of rides across Tampa Bay, with local governments pledging one more year of financial support. But as more taxpayer money is steered into this project, itís important to recognize what purpose the f...
Published: 07/18/18
Updated: 07/20/18
Editorial: Scott should order investigation of concealed weapons permitting

Editorial: Scott should order investigation of concealed weapons permitting

To his credit, Gov. Rick Scott says he is considering requests to order an independent investigation of how Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnamís office screens applications for concealed weapon permits. Itís a reasonable request, and the governor h...
Published: 07/18/18
Editorial: Algae blooms, toll woes and beach battles -- Floridaís fouled up summer

Editorial: Algae blooms, toll woes and beach battles -- Floridaís fouled up summer

July in Florida. The height of summer tourist season. Rental cars clog the highways and tourists crowd the beaches, motels and all-you-can-eat shrimp joints. Many of our neighbors are off to North Carolina or somewhere cooler. So itís an awfully inco...
Published: 07/17/18
Updated: 07/20/18
Editorial: Sacrificing two kayaks and a Toyota for free speech

Editorial: Sacrificing two kayaks and a Toyota for free speech

Maggy Hurchalla joked this spring that all she could offer a billionaire who won a $4.4 million judgment against her after she exercised her free speech rights were "two kayaks and an aging Toyota.íí The billionaire didnít laugh. This week, Martin Co...
Published: 07/17/18
Updated: 07/18/18
Editorial: Trump sides with Putin over America

Editorial: Trump sides with Putin over America

In one of the most surreal news conferences of our time, President Donald Trump actually stood next to Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday and called the federal investigation into Russiaís meddling into the 2016 election "a disaster for our coun...
Published: 07/16/18
Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

The St. Petersburg City Council made the appropriate but difficult decision to reject a contract with renowned artist Janet Echelman for one of her aerial sculptures. It would be wonderful for the city to have one of her signature works, but Spa Beac...
Published: 07/13/18

ĎEverybody needed to know what happenedí

The brutal murder of Emmett Till, a black Chicago youth, in Mississippi nearly 63 years ago went unpunished, but not forgotten. A decision by his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, to allow an open casket at Emmettís Chicago funeral represented an act of def...
Published: 07/13/18