Jeb Bladine: Resolve combined with apprehension
My cousin’s husband is Northern California regional coordinator for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a non-partisan advocacy organization with 366 active chapters worldwide. I’ve enjoyed a few exchanges with him about the CCL’s national policy initiatives, and expect more in the future.
For Harold and thousands more who passionate about climate change issues, this is a week of great apprehension combined with strengthened resolve.
First, they are witnessing today’s inauguration of President Donald Trump, who in 2012 proclaimed, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.” President Trump regularly debunked global warming throughout his 2016 campaign, and his recent claim to gaining a newly-open mind on the topic is being met with some skepticism.
Perhaps that skepticism comes from reading a December Mother Jones magazine chronology entitled, “Every insane thing Donald Trump has said about global warming.”
Secondly, those people and millions more are reading newly-released reports that 2016 produced the highest overall Earth temperatures on record, and a third consecutive year of increase for the first time in the modern era. That would be the source for their strengthened resolve.
Whatever President Trump might think, those people believe the scientific community that considers global warning a grave threat to the natural world and human life.
Nonbelievers can say it’s inconsequential that planetary warming has been risen just one-half-plus degree Fahrenheit since 2013. They can blame recent warming on the 2015-16 Pacific Ocean phenomenon of El Niño. Scientists, however, consider that global half-degree a huge change over three years, with rapid melting of sea ice, rising ocean levels and coastal flooding.
Reports this week say that Fall 2016 temperatures were 20 to 30 degrees higher across wide stretches of the Arctic Ocean — “ridiculously off the chart,” said Gavin Schmidt of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Ground level temperatures, one element of the scientific analysis, increased in about 90 percent of the 5,000-plus cities tracked worldwide in the AccuWeather database. In 2016, according to that data, McMinnville’s mean average temperature increased 1.7 degrees, compared to 2.1 in Portland and 2.6 in Salem.
But looking north toward the ice, those increases were 6 degrees in Bethel, Alaska, 10.5 degrees in Berens River, Canada, and 11 degrees in Arctic Village, Alaska.
Bottom line: Next week, I suspect I’ll hear something about apprehension and resolve from cousin-in-law Harold. And we all will begin to see how treatment of climate change issues unfolds in the Trump Administration.
Jeb Bladine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-687-1223.