Trump's agenda on climate change is dangerous

The U.S. Capitol is seen behind a coal-burning power plant in Washington March 10, 2014. (CNS photo/Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA)

There are many aspects of the emerging Trump presidency that are scary, prejudicial and downright ignorant. But his most dangerous views may be those that deny the reality of climate change.

That's because the long term effects of climate change, unchecked, can literally wipe out life as we know it on planet Earth.

Yet Trump simply does not believe the almost unanimous scientific opinion that climate change is real and must be curbed strongly if we are to save our planet. And he is highly unlikely to take the actions which must be ramped up in the next decade or two if we are to save Earth from the most catastrophic results. Thus, he has threatened to pull the United States out of the historic and global Paris Agreement on climate change.

The leaders of the world who joined the United States in developing and signing that historic agreement in Paris not long ago are aghast at Trump's ignorance and desire to pull out of the accord.

And Trump wants to make matters even worse. Rather than focusing on renewable energy development, Trump wants to promote fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, the very culprits that cause climate change.

The head of environmental policy on his transition team is Myron Ebell, who directs energy and environment policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank that has gained national prominence for its skepticism of climate science. Also informing Mr. Trump's thinking as part of the transition team is Michael McKenna, an influential Republican energy lobbyist who has urged Republican lawmakers to deny climate science.

Ideally, someone should introduce Trump to Laudato Sí, and then set up a conversation with Pope Francis about the issue. And it would be good to invite about three or four leading climate scientists to the session as well.

But let's be realistic. There are surely some successful business people who can talk to Trump about this. Even energy company executives who sell oil and gas know what's up, and they are preparing for a new future. Many businesses are switching to renewable energy sources. We need some people in the business community to "talk turkey" to Trump about the future of our planet. I can only pray they will come forward ... and soon.

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here