Monday, January 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Urgent need to address climate change

Two new reports by a leading international panel should put the task of addressing climate change on the nation's priority list. President Barack Obama has made a start by investing in cleaner energies and seeking to reduce global warming emissions of greenhouse gases. But the United States will need to do more and do it quickly to reduce the natural and human impacts of climate change that pose global safety threats in the near future.

The reports by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change declared flatly that "human influence on the climate system is clear" — a needed shot at critics who want to sidetrack the public debate over global warming with junk science instead of looking at real strategies for reducing the impact of rising temperatures. Into the second half of this century, the threats from climate change will be felt across the world. Rising sea levels will endanger coastal areas and island nations, putting at risk everything from the fresh drinking water supply to urban infrastructure. Extreme weather could cause a breakdown in the food supply, triggering hunger crises. And the populations of poorer nations in particular could see new threats from disease, the loss of marine life, drought and other changes. In an increasingly interconnected world, these are pressing dangers to global order and American security that call for a robust response.

The exhaustive reports by the world's leading climate science body, written by more than 300 authors from 70 countries, call for the world community to work together across a broad front to stem the worst effects of climate change. Nations already have prepared several levels of defense. Africa is strengthening its public health capacity. Europe and Asia are improving early-warning capabilities for natural disasters and better managing their coastal resources. North America is hardening its energy and flood control systems.

The panel struck a hopeful note in its latest report issued Sunday. While acknowledging that greenhouse emissions were rising faster than ever, experts said there was still time to act and called for a heightened sense of urgency from the world's political leaders. The challenge is to fold the piecemeal approaches by nations, states and cities into comprehensive global action toward investing in cleaner fuels.

Obama should follow through with the action plan on climate change he rolled out last year. Cleaner power plants and cars, more efficient appliances and construction, and investments in cleaner energy are critical areas for presidential leadership, especially given that Congress will not pass a climate bill any time soon. The administration also should press on the international front for a global climate pact in the next year. Using his executive power to address climate change at home will bolster the president's credibility with China, India and other countries. It also could provide an opening for the United States to create a $100 billion global climate fund it proposed in 2009. These are all ambitious efforts, but the risks are increasing, not going away.

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Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Ignoring all available evidence that screen time and social media exposure can be harmful to kids, Facebook recently unveiled a new messaging app targeting children under 13. It’s yet another battlefront for parents who have to constantly combat the ...
Published: 01/21/18
Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

The good news on the transportation front is that Tampa Bay’s government and business leaders are working together like never before to connect the region’s largest cities, attractions and employment centers with a more robust mass transit system. Th...
Published: 01/20/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18

Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Published: 01/17/18
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18