Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Editorials

Time to act on climate change

With record high temperatures in the United States last year and a nation still reeling from Superstorm Sandy, President Barack Obama seized the moment by underscoring in his inauguration speech last week that he intends to make dealing with climate change a national priority. Attitudes toward the danger of greenhouse gas emissions are evolving, and the president now has to match his words with deeds without letting the powerful gas, oil or coal industries or their congressional allies kill the effort.

The predictions of climate scientists on rising seas and a warming planet no longer feel so theoretical. After years of long droughts, raging wildfires and high storm surges along with temperatures routinely on the warm side of normal, the evidence is mounting. The United States must prepare for this future by hardening infrastructure while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It's true that developing countries such as China and India are major contributors to emissions pollution, but that doesn't negate the United States' responsibility to lead.

The federal government must take another run at capping greenhouse gas emissions. When cap-and-trade, an effort to cap emission levels and allow the trading of emissions permits, was shelved in 2010, it put climate change on the back burner in Congress. Now Obama is planning to use his regulatory powers to bring change.

One area ripe for regulatory reform is coal-fired power plants, the nation's largest producers of greenhouse gases. The Environmental Protection Agency is already using its authority to reduce emissions in new plants. Now it should expand that to existing plants. New limits would decrease plant emissions by 25 percent or more by 2020 — environmental gains that would come from relatively small financial investments.

Another initiative will encourage energy conservation. Just as Obama sharply raised fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, the administration is expected to require better energy efficiency from major appliances and buildings.

Congressional Republicans should note that public support for their do-nothing approach to climate change is slipping. A recent CNN/ORC International survey found that 49 percent now say global warming is a proven fact and is due to emissions from cars, power plants and factories. That's double the percentage who say that global warming has not been proven. Another 24 percent say that it is a fact but is not due to manmade sources.

Florida's miles of coastline are especially susceptible to powerful hurricanes from a warming planet and extreme flooding from rising seas. There may be reasonable disagreements over precisely what steps to take. But doing nothing in the name of protecting the oil, gas and coal industries would, as Obama warns, betray our children.

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Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18