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November 26, 2018

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If you were still shaking off the effects of a tryptophan coma induced by the Thanksgiving turkey, or out hustling for bargains at your local zombie mall, you might have missed last Friday’s big news from the White House—a stark warning about the devastating impact of global climate change on America’s economy and our way of life.

Wait a second. The White House? Isn’t Trump still president?

Unfortunately, yes. See the date of the release, the slowest news day of the year.

But our president had no choice. The findings about climate change come from the National Climate Assessment, a major scientific report mandated by Congress that the federal government is required to produce and release every four years. Thirteen federal agencies contributed to the alarming findings that will impact us between now and the end of the century and beyond. The highlights (sic) include…

…increased extreme weather events* like the current surge of wildfires in California and Hurricane Michael’s destructive path from Florida through the Carolinas

… safe-drinking water supplies threatened by increased ground water depletion and saltwater contamination

…slashing of GDP by as much as ten percent caused in part by $141 billion in heat-related deaths, $118 billion from sea level rise, and $32 billion from infrastructure damage

…changes in rainfall and hotter temperatures reducing agricultural production in the Midwest to levels of the 1980s

…disruption of global trade patterns resulting in price spikes and temporarily shuttering factories in both the US and abroad

You can read the complete report here.

But no need to worry. The White House noted that the report was initiated under the Obama administration and “largely based on the most extreme scenario,” and promised that the next assessment would provide an opportunity for a more balanced outlook. And only last week, President Trump tweeted “Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?”

I’m sure that’s all very reassuring to the survivors of the wildfire that ravaged the former paradise of Pleasure, California.

As a postscript, the Trump strategy seems to be working. The climate report didn’t make the first hour of Monday's “Morning Joe” or the introductory top stories of the “Today Show.” Although the New York Times, who else, did continue the resistance with a 1st column front page news analysis about the Trump administration’s efforts to bury its own report.

*I characterize these events as “weird weather” in my forthcoming novel, The Eleventh Grieve, currently being shopped to the lit biz. One way or the other, it will be published next year.


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