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OPED: Republicans race to deny scientific proof
The bad news is there's proof. On the other hand, the good news is there's proof.
To all you Republican presidential candidates who insist climate change is not real, you're wrong! In the vernacular of this crazy election season, none of you are telling the truth.
The good news is that despite the bizarre Republican denials designed to reassure their supporters, falsely, that climate change is not something they have to worry about, the rest of the world realizes this is serious.
Following on the heels of a United Nations report that climate change is predicted to raise sea levels to catastrophic levels, new research indicates that most of the tidal flooding in such states as California, Virginia, South Carolina and Florida is being caused by man-made carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels.
In a paper titled "Unnatural Coastal Floods: Sea Level Rise and the Human Fingerprint on U.S. Floods Since 1950," researchers Benjamin Strauss, Robert Kopp, William Sweet and Klaus Bittermann reported that "human-caused global sea level rise effectively tipped the balance, pushing high water events over the threshold, for about two-thirds of the observed flood days."
Sea levels are rising sharply, faster than at any previous point in the last 28 centuries.
In just one example, in Annapolis, Md., from 1955 to 1964, there were 32 days of tidal flooding. From 2005 to 2014, there were 394 days of flooding.
In the United States, this already is causing immense problems. Americans in a number of coastal towns are dealing with fouled drinking water, neighborhoods cut off from arterial roads for days at a time, flooded, muddy, moldy basements, ruined yards and houses that can't be sold.
Someday in the not-too-distant future, people will be astonished and appalled that millions scoffed at the idea that man-made carbon emissions had built up to such an extent that we badly damaged the entire earth and possibly killed a lot of our fellow humans. Yes, according to the United Nations compilation of all available scientific research, if global pollution of the atmosphere is not reduced, climate change will result in the deaths of many, many people.
Ben Carson says, "There's always going to be cooling or warming going on. There's no reason to make it into a political issue."
Ted Cruz inexplicably says climate change is a "religious" issue and wants to forbid the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating emissions and wants to open federal lands to more drilling for fossil fuels despite tanking oil prices.
John Kasich, who also wants to restrict governmental regulations aimed at stopping climate change, says, "We don't want to destroy people's jobs based on some theory that's not proven."
Marco Rubio also wants to drill for more oil and says the climate is always changing: "We're not going to destroy our economy the way the left-wing government we are under now wants to do."
Donald Trump, who will say anything, says, "I don't believe in climate change."
Why on earth, so to speak, is there such impassioned denial among Republicans of what 95 percent of all scientists say is an incontrovertible fact?
The answer is business. If climate change is denied, then businesses and industry don't have to change the way they operate. They don't have to spend money to reduce emissions polluting the atmosphere. It is easier to make a case for cutting taxes for the wealthy and for corporations if government isn't expected to take action to save the planet.
Also, if there is something we don't understand, let's just deny it.
Secretly, a lot of those who insist they don't believe in the science of climate change believe in science fiction. They think technology will come up with some super-duper answer that will restore the ozone, erase the plague of greenhouse gases and restore our planet to the halcyon days of non-pollution.
And we have to hope that technology will provide some answers. But that's not enough, and it's certainly not in time to prevent disasters all over the globe.
Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidates call each other liars and promise to build walls, deport millions of people, get rid of health insurance for millions, cut environmental regulations, drop more bombs and cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires.
And that's proof: A lot of heads are stuck in the sand.
— Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at firstname.lastname@example.org.