Michael Bastasch, DCNF
- CNN’s John Avlon agrees with The Washington Post that Trump is “complicit” in the storm.
- Why? Because he’s not a global warming alarmist and opposes Obama-era climate policies.
- One climate scientist touted the “irony” of a storm coming while Trump is deregulating.
President Donald Trump’s critics are not only trying to implicate him in the potentially catastrophic damage of Hurricane Florence, but some seem to be touting the “irony” of a storm coming amid the administration’s deregulatory efforts.
CNN political analyst John Avlon agreed with The Washington Post’s editorial board that Trump was “complicit” in the hurricane headed for the Carolinas. Why? Because he opposed Obama-era global warming policies.
” … his policies have been tearing down our defenses to climate change, which is often a blame for extreme weather,” Avlon said on CNN Thursday. “In fact, on the very same day Trump was discussing Florence from the Oval Office, his EPA proposed rolling back restrictions on emissions of methane, which is 25 times worse than carbon dioxide when it comes to climate change. And that’s just the latest environmental policy targeted by the Trump Administration.”
“This isn’t rocket science, it is climate science,” Avlon said. “As long as we continue to aggressively ignore it, the cost in lives and dollars will only escalate. That’s your reality check.”
During the segment, Avlon presents a slide claiming there’s been a 40 percent increase in extreme storms since 1950 — a figure that’s demonstrably false. Scientific data overwhelmingly shows no increasing trend in the number or intensity of tropical cyclones.
Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather joined in, tweeting that “[f]uture generations will damn the complicit and complacent.” Rather didn’t mention any names in his tweet, but he’s clearly aiming it at Trump and others who don’t support climate policies.
Intensifying hurricanes, wildfires, floods, droughts. Coral dies. Diseases spread. Seas rise. Earth begs for a restoration to health, or at least to minimize the decline. Future generations will damn the complicit and complacent. This is very much on the ballot in 2018.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) September 11, 2018
It’s no secret some scientists, environmentalists and politicians use hurricanes and other extreme weather events to sound the alarm on global warming. Climate campaigner Brad Johnson, for example, is just one of many activists currently blaming Hurricane Florence on fossil fuel emissions.
— Brad Johnson (@climatebrad) September 13, 2018
But the timing of Hurricane Florence, coupled with Trump’s deregulatory agenda, has some seemingly relishing in the supposed irony. Some are juxtaposing the storm against Trump’s repealing of Obama-era methane regulations.
For example, Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann touted how “ironic” it was that Florence came as “the Trump administration engages in another assault on policies aimed at curbing carbon emissions.”
Mann told The New York Times on Thursday that Florence was “fueled in part by bathwater-hot Atlantic Ocean temperatures warmed by human carbon emissions,” that would only be made warmer because Trump is dismantling an Obama-era policy on methane emissions — a rule that has no measurable effect on warming.
Mann, of course, is assuming global warming made Florence more intense through ocean warming, despite there being no increasing trend overall in hurricanes.
In fact, even WaPo’s editorial claiming Trump was “complicit” in Florence’s damages admitted it’s “hard to attribute any single weather event to climate change” before going on to blame Trump.
Over at E&E News, one reporter asked: “Will a big storm bring congressional climate converts?”
E&E News reported that “some in the advocacy world hope storms like Florence will eventually spell a political epiphany for Republicans in Congress.” The article quotes climate activists who see Republicans “breaking” because of extreme weather.
“I think we’re seeing the breaking point now,” Steve Valk, spokesman for Citizens’ Climate Lobby, told E&E News. “With the three storms we had last fall — $300 billion worth of damage, thousands of lives lost — I think people are connecting the dots.”
Still, storms and other extreme weather can provide what Anthony Leiserowitz termed “teachable moments” — rare times when people collectively focus on a story with direct connections to climate change.
Leiserowitz, who heads Yale University’s Program on Climate Change Communication, went on to say that hurricanes, like Florence, are “teachable moments” when it comes to global warming.
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