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Opinion

Opinion: Expect Trump’s State of the Union to ignore the most urgent issue of today

Holy fire
Climate change will make natural disasters like California wildfires worse, but don’t expect President Trump to mention global warming in his State of the Union speech.
(Los Angeles Times)

With hours to go before President Trump’s second State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress, we’re hearing snippets of what he will talk about. Immigration. Unity. Infrastructure. Himself (always).

But we’re not likely to hear anything about the single issue that most threatens global stability and habitability: climate change.

Trump has disdain for the science recognizing the impact human activity has had on the environment, particularly the burning of fossil fuels that propelled industrialization and fuels modern economies. But Trump’s dismissal of climate change, and the devastatingly bad policies his administration has adopted to further his “energy dominance” agenda, means the U.S. — and by extension the world — is losing crucial time that should be spent reducing the amount of carbon we spew into the atmosphere.

We’ve all seen the reports. Hottest years in recorded history. Massive wildfires made worse by the effects of climate change. Larger and more powerful storms. Melting ice packs. Disappearing species. Climate change has already influenced migration from Central America as drought ruins growing seasons, and more migration is likely around the world as droughts leave currently inhabited regions unlivable, rising seas levels push ocean-edge populations inland, and longer and more intense heat waves make regions harder to survive in.

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Here’s something we can unify around: Global warming.

New studies of glaciers and ice sheets suggest that global warming is having a faster and more pronounced effect than experts had expected. Sections of the Antarctic ice sheet are melting faster than previously believed, and receding glaciers in the Himalayas threaten fresh water supplies for 2 billion people.

Even Trump’s own Pentagon sees climate change as a risk to national security, and the likely source of international instability in the future.

Enter the Fray: First takes on the news of the minute »

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This is the most pressing issue of our time. But what will the president discuss? Illegal immigration and his manufactured border “crisis,” and the need for unity.

Well, here’s something we can unify around: Global warming.

But don’t expect this president to lead that rally.


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