Saturday, December 16, 2017
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: Warrenís smart approach on guns, domestic violence

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren would make it safer for victims and police alike with his plan to remove firearms from defendants charged with domestic violence. These cases are toxic enough, and having guns at the ready only adds to a dang...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: St. Petersburg council right to reject Bayfront deal

Editorial: St. Petersburg council right to reject Bayfront deal

The St. Petersburg City Council made the difficult but correct decision this week to reject the proposed sale of a local nonprofitís minority stake in Bayfront hospital. Despite months of negotiations, there were too many questions, a few suspicions ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should fix flood insurance, childrenís health insurance before Christmas

Editorial: Congress should fix flood insurance, childrenís health insurance before Christmas

Hereís a snapshot of misplaced priorities in Washington. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission foolishly rushed to scrap net neutrality rules and allow internet service providers to treat different content differently despite overwhelming ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: Scottís smart changes to sexual harassment policy

Editorial: Scottís smart changes to sexual harassment policy

With misconduct allegations rippling through all levels of government, Gov. Rick Scott has taken the prudent step of ordering uniform sexual harassment policies throughout state agencies. The executive order strengthens protections for victims, which...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

Editorial: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

For three years, the only news about finances at Tampaís Museum of Science and Industry was bad news: "Struggling MOSI asks Hillsborough County for $400,000 loan," one headline read, "Audit sees MOSI finances slipping," read another, and "MOSI donor ...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

For once, it would be nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio stand up as the independent leader he aspires to become. For once, the Florida Republican should hold his position rather than bow to pragmatic politics. Rubio can stick with his threat Thursday to v...
Published: 12/14/17

Another voice: A shameful anniversary

Josephine "Joey" Gay should have celebrated her 12th birthday this week. She should have been surrounded by friends and family in a place festooned with purple, her favorite color.Chase Kowalski should have been working toward a Boy Scout merit badge...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Timing is everything, and Sen. Bill Nelson seized the right moment this week to call on his colleagues to pass legislation he filed earlier this year that would block the Trump administration from opening additional areas to offshore drilling. With t...
Published: 12/13/17

Another voice: Alabama picks an honorable man

THANK YOU, Alabama.In Tuesdayís special election, the state by a narrow margin chose to spare the nation the indignity of seating an accused child molester in the U.S. Senate. Though the stain of electing Republican Roy Moore would have sullied Alaba...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Published: 12/12/17