Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Dan Rather -- Russia investigation doesn’t compare to scandal that has ability to damage our planet irrevocably

The impending release of a key government report on climate change will force President Trump to choose between accepting the conclusions of his administration’s scientists and the demands of his conservative supporters, who remain deeply unconvinced that humans are the cause of the planet’s warming.

The Russia investigation has the potential to be the biggest scandal in American political history. But even if it ends up bringing down a presidency in spectacular fashion (and I think we are still a long, long, way from that happening), historians may look back at it as a blip compared to to a scandal that has the ability to damage our planet irrevocably - a process that is already well underway.

Make no mistake, the inability of many of our nation's elected officials to take climate change seriously is a scandal of epic proportions. It is the equivalent of seeing hostile troops massing at our borders and saying "nevermind. No need for alarm. That's just fake news." We are in danger of being attacked, our cities flooded and hit by hurricanes, our crops parched by drought or swept away by floods, our forest fires intensified, our anger and exasperation rising with the temperatures.

Now it has emerged that the best of American scientists have prepared a terrifying report that rings the alarm bells once again. Climate change isn't something our grandchildren will have to worry about. It's already here. It would be great if we could dismiss these dire warnings as alarmist, except they are backed up by real hard data. That's what makes it so scary.

Now this report arrives in an administration that seems not only allergic to science, but to the truth (of course that's two symptoms of the same disease). This report has been leaked to the New York Times in fear that it would be buried. Let Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump rail against leakers all they want. Mr. Sessions complained that leakers and the press who report on them "cannot place lives at risk with impunity.” That's a charge that is far better suited for those who deny climate change and the need to act immediately.

By Michael D. Shear And Brad Plumer