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The reality of climate change

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It's considered bad manners to say "I told you so," so pretend I'm not saying that. Among these "who told us so," pointing out the consequences of rising CO2 levels on the climate, were scientists throughout the world, writer/activist Bill McKibben, columnist and writer Thomas Friedman, President Obama and Vice President/film producer Al Gore, almost every environmental organization, and me. Yes, about eight years ago I wrote an opinion piece in the New Times about Climate Change Action Day, a350.org event.

Despite these warnings about the consequences of inaction, the levels of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases are still rising. The U.S. has failed to sign on to the Paris Climate Treaty, thanks to President Trump and his advisors. And as our southern states deal with Irma's ramifications, President Trump urges further repeal of environmental regulations (or non-enforcement, which is the same thing) and more gas, oil, and coal extraction, all in the name of increasing jobs.

But perhaps former deniers of human-caused climate change who witnessed the devastation caused first by Hurricane Harvey and now Hurricane Irma, in the USA, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the destroyed island of Barbuda, will ponder what a future of increasingly lethal storms would mean and what should be done.

I can only hope that the Republican legislators in Congress whose states/constituents have suffered this month (and for many months to come) will finally wake up and smell ... not the coffee, but the reality of climate change and finally take meaningful action.

Judith Bernstein

Arroyo Grande


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