How Many Deaths Will it Take Before Deniers Start Believing in Climate Change?

Irma is a monster hurricane, one of the strongest ever recorded in the Atlantic, as of September 7 wreaking havoc in the Caribbean with winds up to 185 mph an hour. The Category 5 storm left the island of Barbuda “barely habitable,” before turning its attention to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. By September 9, it will be heading for Florida.

Hurricane Jose is coming close behind.

Harvey was another monster hurricane that’s left much of Texas and southeast Louisiana under water. At least 60 people have died as a result of Harvey, while over a million people have been displaced.

On the other side of the world, in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, at least a thousand people have died and thousands more have been left homeless after monsoon rainfalls that dumped millions of gallons of water on the region. In just one country, Nepal, an estimated 461,000 people are homeless, with 65,000 homes destroyed, and across the region 16 million children “are in urgent need of life-saving support” UNICEF reports.

Across Africa, a similar tale unfolds: devastating flooding has killed 25 times more people than were killed by Hurricane Harvey. Countries across the continent, including Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Africa, have seen their worst floods in decades.

Scientists are confident that climate change is making natural disasters like Harvey and Irma more powerful and destructive.

But as Mark Hertsgaard writes in The Nation,

“What makes this so infuriating is that it shouldn’t be happening. Experts have warned for decades that global warming would increase these sorts of weather extremes and that people would suffer and die if protective measures were not implemented.”

Even more egregious, 75 percent of those who say they voted for Trump don’t believe in human-caused climate change, according to a survey earlier this year by researchers from the University of New Hampshire. A denier himself, Trump has packed his administration with climate-change deniers, while working to line the pockets of Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Gas.

 Incredibly (or maybe not?) Trump appointed Scott Pruitt as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, a man who has said“Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”

Not so Mr. Pruitt. Over 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming over the past century is most likely due to human activities.

As Care2′s Kevin Matthews wrote here, Trump’s administration is loaded with deniers, including Vice President Mike Pence, who stated,

“Well, look I don’t know that [climate change] is a resolved issue in science today. I know we’re talking about climate change, but a few years ago, we were talking about global warming. We haven’t see a lot of warming lately.”

Trump himself famously said, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

Trump has insulted both climate science and space exploration by nominating Jim Bridenstine, a Republican from Oklahoma and a climate change denier, as his nominee to run NASA. Bridenstine has no scientific training.

Far from facing the obvious truth, that thousands of deaths across the globe are related to climate change, Trump has responded with awe: “Wow – Now experts are calling #Houston a once in 500 year flood!” “Historic rainfall in Houston, and all over Texas. Floods are unprecedented, and more rain coming. Sprit of the people is incredible. Thanks!” 

Instead of addressing this global crisis, Trump has been focussed on protecting Confederate monuments, on getting rid of transgender people in the military, and on deporting immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

Isn’t it time for leaders in the U.S. to finally see that our climate is changing rapidly and we urgently need to do something about it?

As The Nation puts it, “Climate Denialism Is Literally Killing Us.”

Photo Credit: Texas Military Department

209 comments

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld1 months ago

Ann,
True. But on the other hand, some will see climate change in everything. Including those events which occur normally.

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Ann B
Ann B1 months ago

SOME will never see climate change--money makes you invincible--or they think it does and they don't give a damn about anyone or anything else

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Paul B
Paul B2 months ago

NOAA has clearly stated climate change is NOT the reason for the increased size of hurricanes. A new British climatology agency has claimed that the models used to predict climate change were wrong. In the past 5 years, arctic ice has increased 40%.
Everything predicted 10 years ago was wrong. Now they are predicting some 50-100 years out and expect us to believe them. Not many are, except the few that hold to the special interest groups that cling to their religion of AGW.
Has anyone actually looked at WHY these agencies are promoting AGW? They are funded by the same people who stand to benefit from the taxes and regulations the studies have claimed to have found.
The AGW myth is falling apart, but still has a few holdouts who have failed to take the time to study anything other than what they have been taught to believe.
Solar activity is on the decline which means we are headed into a cooling period. Several studies confirm this, but are shouted down by the fanatics of AGW.

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Brian F
Brian F2 months ago

Dan B As Neil deGrasse Tyson and most scientist have stated, Climate change is caused by humans. The debate is over. Annabel was correct in her points. Just cherry picking a few studies out of the overwhelming number of scientific studies that confirm Global Warming is anthropogenic proves nothing. The IPCC has admonished us that time is running out, and yet you deny this, and then refuse to do anything about it. You say that you are not a Republican, but then you deny the overwhelming science that Global Warming is anthropogenic, which only Republicans do. Perhaps you should join the Republican party, since your beliefs are so consistent with theirs. The degree to which humans are causing climate change is not important, and being used by you as an excuse to do nothing to counter it’s affects. We need action now to address it, after the serious of never ending hurricanes that we are experiencing.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld2 months ago

Annabel,
Good luck with your harvest. I have enjoyed our conversation, and hope to see you for other discourses.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini2 months ago

With the house full for the grape harvest I haven't time to write let alone do any research. Anyway, Dan, I think we've maybe come to the end of any useful discussion. I respect your point of view and your research and wish it were the whole story though I still fear it isn't.
Thanks to other posters too. Dot, I like your inspiring ideas, and, like wishing Dan's view of climate change could come true, say If only......

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Cruel J
Cruel J2 months ago

A LOT, AND PROBABLY NOT EVEN THEN.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld2 months ago

Annabel,
Perhaps I was a tad over the top with calling them extreme. But you must agree that they selectively choose those aspects of climate change which would most negatively affect the species in question. I have little issue with their desire to protect wildlife. In some case, they just present a situation that is more dire than it really is.

Using climate change is certainly understandable. My point was that when doing so, the first hits will claim how climate change might affect varies species. Just as if you entered pollution, hunting, or deforestation. I applaud your desire for greater understanding, and am glad to see you doing your own research. My issue is largely with those on both extremes, which have created our recent divide. So many more fall somewhere in between. I hope I have gotten that message across.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini2 months ago

Dan
OK I take your point about the difference between 'wild' and 'reasonable'. But I can't agree with your contention that the National Wildlife Federation, Polar Bear International, NASA and the W.W.F all had the founding purpose of being extreme. That is simply not true. They had the founding purpose of studying and protecting wildlife species, full stop. And the reason I put 'climate change' into my search was because that was the subject under discussion, not for some subversive desire to find only information that backed up my opinion. Please give me credit for trying to get to the bottom of this subject, taking seriously ALL the evidence, not only one side.

David F. Yes, this certainly goes into Dan's 'wild' category!

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld2 months ago

David F.,
Yes, that was part of the exaggeration that he admits was a mistake. Unfortunately, he has not been as vocal about that admission as he was about his original claims. His fear that the globe is warming too slowly for people to act, has been replaced with exaggerated claims which have come to fruition. While his loyal followers still regard him as The Godfather, others have lost faith. He has helped greater the major divide we have today, whereby the extremist groups refer to each other as alarmists and deniers. Unfortunately, they refer to the rest of us as their adversaries also.

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