Thursday, October 18, 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: Museum quickly regained its step

Jennifer Stancil was terminated from her $169,280 a year job last month as museum president and chief executive, a post she held for three years. Exactly why remained a mystery to those outside the museum.
Updated: 8 hours ago
Editorial: Trump should demand Saudis account for journalist

Editorial: Trump should demand Saudis account for journalist

Twenty-seven journalists have been murdered so far this year just for doing their jobs, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. That number doesn’t even include Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident journalist who hasn’t been ...
Published: 10/17/18
Editorial: Restart selection process for Florida Supreme Court justices

Editorial: Restart selection process for Florida Supreme Court justices

The Florida Supreme Court reached the right conclusion by ruling that the next governor has the authority to appoint three new justices to the court rather than departing Gov. Rick Scott. That is practical and reasonable, and it reflects the will of ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Editorial: Bilirakis mimics Trump, colleagues in misleading voters

Editorial: Bilirakis mimics Trump, colleagues in misleading voters

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis wants voters to believe he is different than his Republican colleagues in Congress and President Donald Trump. The Palm Harbor Republican says he pays more attention to local issues than to the president, claims he doesnȁ...
Published: 10/15/18
Updated: 10/16/18
Editorial: Answering questions about Hillsborough school tax

Editorial: Answering questions about Hillsborough school tax

The Hillsborough County school tax on the Nov. 6 ballot is a smart, necessary investment in the nation's eighth-largest school system. The 10-year, half-penny sales tax would create stronger, safer schools and a healthier learning environment for mor...
Published: 10/12/18
Updated: 10/16/18
Editorial: Tampa water project benefits entire region

Editorial: Tampa water project benefits entire region

A proposal that goes to the three-county utility Tampa Bay Water on Monday could benefit residents, the economy and the environment across the region. The utility's governing board will consider a proposal by the city of Tampa to redirect highly trea...
Published: 10/12/18
Updated: 10/15/18
Editorial: Rays’ purchase of Rowdies good for St. Petersburg

Editorial: Rays’ purchase of Rowdies good for St. Petersburg

The Tampa Bay Rays’ purchase of the Rowdies soccer team adds some stability to the region’s roster of professional sports franchises. It also guarantees that the Rowdies, who have amassed an enthusiastic fan base in a short time, will k...
Published: 10/12/18
Editorial: Remember Mexico Beach when next evacuation order comes

Editorial: Remember Mexico Beach when next evacuation order comes

When the sun rose Wednesday, Mexico Beach was a sleepy town of 1,200 people on Florida's northern Gulf coast. By sundown, it was gone. The pictures show the heartbreaking devastation left by Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle. Entire neighbor...
Published: 10/12/18
Shortsighted opposition to TECO

Shortsighted opposition to TECO

The destruction from Hurricane Michael is only the latest reminder of Florida's growing vulnerability to extreme weather, rising sea levels and other impacts of a warming climate. But the Sierra Club's opposition to Tampa Electric Co.'s plans to retr...
Published: 10/12/18
Times recommends: Chronister for Hillsborough sheriff

Times recommends: Chronister for Hillsborough sheriff

Florida sheriffs have long hand-plucked their successors from within the ranks. While he is a product of this tradition, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is uniquely qualified to be elected on his own merits.Then-Sheriff David Gee surprise...
Published: 10/11/18
Updated: 10/12/18