John Whittum: President dismisses global warming as ‘hoax’ | SteamboatToday.com

John Whittum: President dismisses global warming as ‘hoax’

The new U.S. President's directions to weaken almost all environmental regulation make it clear that our government's chief executive has little interest in the reasons why our planet is getting warmer. Temperatures in the earth's air, waterways and land masses have risen about two degrees over the last century and brought disastrous effects to the planet's many ecosystems. But few in the government's administration seem to notice.

Here in the southwest part of our country, from the high ridges of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to the Pacific Ocean, we are experiencing less and less precipitation and more and more heat. The many droughts and wildfires over the last decade are expected to be repeated with greater severity.

The increasing lack of fresh water (formerly accumulated through heavy snow packs in the winter) already suggests a grim future here, as well as in many other parts of the globe. In the already-overpopulated and volatile regions of the Middle East and Africa, water scarcity has become a major driving force of ethnic antagonism.

The rapid melting rate of the polar icecaps and mountain glaciers and the subsequent universal rise of sea levels are almost terrifying to contemplate — especially when understood in terms of cause and effect.

Almost all scientists agree that the burning of fossil fuels has contributed most to the rise in earthly temperatures, as well as to the increase of violent storms. Former "interglacial" warming periods took place over eons of years. Nothing that geologists are aware of has ever happened with the speed of the recent warming cycle.

Summer ice has disappeared from the North Pole in the last decade; Greenland's glaciers are substantially reduced. Twenty years ago an ice sheet the size of Manhattan broke off from Antarctica; quite recently, another ice sheet the size of Delaware became another berg to melt into the South Seas.

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Other countries — Morocco is a good example — are attempting to replace energy produced from fossil fuel consumption by installing colossal solar energy collectors. But our government is taking a reverse course: Making it easier for corporations to use dirty fuels.

In spite of the planet's rising temperatures and sea levels, the new president has dismissed global warming as a "Chinese hoax."

John Whittum

Routt County