Donald Trump focused his campaign rhetoric mostly on border walls, refugees and emails. But once elected, he revealed a passion that got far less media attention: a deep hostility to climate science and policy. He received a lot of help from the widespread fiction that we had to choose between healthy polar bears and a healthy economy.
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That narrative has infected our politics for years despite of clear evidence that it is pure applesauce.
On the contrary, the greatest threat to our economic health is global warming itself.
That’s not my opinion. It’s the finding of the London School of Economics, which calculated that unmitigated climate change would suck $2.5 trillion of wealth out of the global economy. It’s the finding of the Risky Business study led by former GOP Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, which forecast U.S. mid-century property losses of over $100 billion, just from sea level rise, and Midwest corn crop losses as high as 70 percent. A 2015 University of Chicago study revealed that the social cost of carbon may be grossly underestimated if damages wrought by climate change suppress economic growth by even a small amount.
Mr. Trump and his allies may think they’re simply chasing the hippies out of Washington with their climate science denialism. They are tragically wrong, and our descendants could pay a dreadful price for their ignorance.
Rick Knight, Illinois state coordinator,
Citizens’ Climate Lobby
It is very telling about the nature of American conservatism that the Republican’s health care bill failed not because it threw tens of millions of people under the bus, but because so many Republicans in Congress felt it didn’t throw enough people under the bus. And the bus didn’t have studded snow tires.
Daniel Welch, Glen Ellyn
Talking of entitlements
The Republican’s abominable health care plan was not even worthy of hospice care. But for all its benefits, Obamacare has flaws that need ER treatment.
Meanwhile, members of Congress enjoy health coverage that guarantees they can be treated by the best doctors in the best hospitals for whatever ails them. Talk about entitlements! The first step in health care reform should be repeal of that privileged congressional plan. Then members of both parties will have an incentive to work together for a program that truly benefits all Americans.
Dan McGuire, Bensenville
Just a bean counter
On the issue of whether Paul Vallas should be appointed to run the failed Chicago State University, no one seems to have done their homework. Any objective review of the performances of public schools in Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Bridgeport, Conn. where Vallas was in charge of the schools will show no significant improvement in student performance. There are no statues erected to honor Vallas and his performance in any of those towns. What Vallas has always been, even from his days at City Hall, is a bean counter. He is proficient at firing people, especially those who disagree with him, hiring patronage workers, and fighting unions, not at education.
Thomas Sharp, Lincoln Park