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When Donald Trump declared global warming was a “Chinese hoax,” he established a new all-time low for reality-challenged presidents. With 97 percent of the world’s leading scientists confirming not only that human-caused global warming is real, but predicting the disastrous effects upon the planet and its inhabitants, only a total self-absorbed buffoon like Trump could possibly discount their long and in-depth evidence as a “hoax.” Well, the “proof is in the pudding” as they say, and the effects of global warming are stacking up in vast economic and environmental damages while causing widespread and long-lasting human suffering.
Of course the grim reality of Hurricane Harvey is the leading antithesis of Trump’s “Chinese hoax” theory. What began as a tropical storm quickly became a Class 4 Hurricane with 130 mph winds as it picked up enormous amounts of water from a very warm Gulf of Mexico. The warmer the air, the more water it can hold, and with triple-digit temperatures blasting the Southwest, there was plenty of warm air to go around. As I write this, Las Vegas is predicted to hit 105, Los Angeles a sweltering 104 and Phoenix an almost unimaginable 108.
How much water could all that warm air hold? Experts say more than a trillion gallons fell on Texas and Louisiana — enough to fill Lake Michigan, which is called a “Great Lake” because it’s one of the planet’s largest freshwater lakes. Even the thought of filling that massive water body with a few days’ worth of rain boggles the imagination.
Harvey drove tens of thousands of Texans from their homes — which will likely be total losses since most insurance policies don’t cover flooding. The rising waters also inundated oil and gas refineries, releasing a stew of toxins and caused a chemical plant to burst into explosions and flames when the power for its cooling systems went out. The release of hazardous and toxic substances from those impacts have yet to be fully assessed, and may never be. That Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, had halted implementation of rules meant to increase safety at chemical plants was sidelined two weeks before Harvey hit only adds to the massive unfolding environmental disaster.
And while the tragedy in Texas was playing out here in the U.S., Trump’s “hoax” was dumping unprecedented amounts of monsoon water on India, Nepal and Bangladesh. So far the continuing disaster has displaced 40 million people and killed at least 1,200.
Nor has Montana escaped the wrath of a warming planet. Wildfires have been burning since the rains of June petered out into the drought and extreme heat of July and August. Like their reality-challenged leader, Montana’s congressional politicians want to find something besides global warming for the fires. So they claim the real reason is forest management and environmentalists, not the excessive use of fossil fuels, which they actually seek to increase.
But their argument rings hollow when you consider just a few basic facts. Montana’s largest wildfire burned 270,000 acres on the plains of eastern Montana — and it’s not because ranchers didn’t “thin” or “manage” their pastures. Ironically, some of the largest of the forest wildfires are occurring in areas that have already been extensively logged, such as Lolo, Superior, Seeley Lake and Lincoln.
In short, we are being ruled by a moron who refuses to acknowledge global warming despite the overwhelming evidence and incredible suffering. Until our self-described “very smart” president faces reality we — and the rest of the planet — will continue to suffer thanks to his “Chinese hoax” delusions.