Sooner than later, probably sooner, climate change is going to move near the top of the list on voters' minds. That's because climate change is becoming increasingly dangerous, more disruptive and, ultimately, way more costly. The New York Times' Tom Friedman thinks it could swing the vote in 2020 and that wouldn't be a good thing for Donald J. Trump.
What if all the extreme weather this year — linked to climate change — gets even worse and more costly? What if the big 2020 issue is not left-right — but hot-cold or wet-dry? What if the big 2020 issue is not “Who lost Russia?” or “Who lost North Korea?” but “Who lost planet Earth?”
We’re talking about the natural world, so one has to be cautious. But if you look at all the destructive extreme weather buffeting the world this summer alone, it’s as if Mother Nature were saying to us: “Oh, you didn’t notice me tapping on your shoulder these past few years? O.K. Well, how about a little fire, Scarecrow? How about this:
“How about I bake Europe, set the biggest wildfire California has ever seen and more active wildfires — 460 in one day — than British Columbia has ever seen, and also start the worst forest fires in decades in Sweden, even extending north of the Arctic Circle where temperatures this month reached 86 degrees. Meanwhile, I’ll subject Japan to the heaviest rainfall it’s ever recorded, and then a couple weeks later the highest temperature it’s ever recorded — 106 degrees in Kumagaya, northwest of Tokyo. And for a punctuation mark, I’ll break the heat record in Death Valley, reaching 127 degrees, and burn the worst drought in living memory into Eastern Australia, where the BBC last week quoted a dairy farmer as saying, “It’s gotten to the point where it’s cheaper to shoot your cows than it is to feed them.”Friedman has a warning for presidential hopefuls but it holds true for what passes for political leadership everywhere, Canada included.
Mother Nature is done letting us pretend that we don’t know and can’t connect the dots — and that could create some very interesting politics.
...[Trump] doesn’t believe the climate science that NASA is telling him is true. He is trying to bring back coal precisely when wind, solar and efficiency are becoming cheaper, cleaner, healthier alternatives — precisely when four of the five biggest wind states are red states and precisely when China has committed itself to owning the clean power and electric car markets of the future! He’s trying to force the U.S. auto industry to bring back gas guzzlers when the last time we did that — from the 1980s to the 2000s — Japan and Korea bankrupted Detroit and we enriched petro-dictators from Venezuela to Russia to the Arab world to Iran.
Trump is the president who’s throwing away our umbrella right before the storm.
... Clean power, clean cars, clean manufacturing and efficient buildings make everything we want to achieve in our society easier. They can lower our health care costs, cut heating bills for the poor, drive 21st-century innovation, foster decent jobs, mitigate climate change, create more competitive export industries, weaken petro-dictators — and enhance U.S. national security and moral leadership.
Let Trump fight that idea. If Mother Nature keeps on this destructive track into 2020, well, Trump’s favorite mantra about strong women, “Lock her up,” will look awfully silly.