You Guessed It: Climate Change: Facts vs. Fantasy

Cape Codders won't be surprised to learn that this summer has been historically hot and dry. In fact, all of Massachusetts and most of New England has been in a moderate to extreme drought. The Boston Globe: "In the 136 years scientists have been tracking global temperatures, there has never been a warmer month than this July, according to a new NASA report. It was the 10th consecutive month of record warmth, making it likely that 2016 will be the hottest year ever recorded — breaking records set the two previous years."
Extremes are taking place across the country and the world. Droughts, severe flooding, extreme wildfires, habitat destruction, increasingly threatened species, storms more powerful and in more unusual regions than in the past, etc.
But when it comes to healing the planet, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump might as well be in different galaxies.
Senator Bernie Sanders: "Clinton understands that climate change is real and is one of the great environmental crises facing our planet. She knows that we must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and move aggressively to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. Trump, on the other hand, rejects science and the conclusions of almost all major researchers in the field. He believes that climate change is a 'hoax,' and that there’s no need to address it."
Clinton: “The science of climate change is unforgiving, no matter what the deniers may say. Sea levels are rising; ice caps are melting; storms, droughts and wildfires are wreaking havoc. I've laid out bold national goals to address the threats it poses. As president, I’ll say no to drilling in the Arctic. I’ll stop the tax giveaways to big oil and gas companies. And I’ll make significant investments in clean energy. Our children's health and future depend on it." And Trump? Recent tweets: "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive;" “Ice storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee - I'm in Los Angeles and it's freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!" “It's record cold all over the country and world – where the hell is global warming, we need some fast!" "This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING b.s. has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps, and our GW scientists are stuck in ice." (All tweets were posted December through February, what we commonly call winter.)
While not a staunch defender of the environment, Trump certainly is of his luxury golf courses, launching long legal battles to build on sand dunes that were a protected site in Scotland and prevent windmills off the coasts of Scotland and Ireland. "Windmills are destroying every country they touch – and the energy is unreliable and terrible."
But not above a profitable flip-flop or two, he has investments in NextEra Energy, one of the world's largest producers of renewable power, and Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in County Clare, Ireland, filed an application to build a seawall that explicitly stated "global warming and its effects" (Time.com) as the reason. Getting dizzy? It might be the heat.
The bottom line: "Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities."  – NASA
And as we all know (well, most of us), global warming means that the globe –  that's the whole planet – is steadily increasing in temperature on average. The fact that it is very cold in one part of the world for a period of time does not disprove a long-term global trend. In other words, holding up a snowball on the Senate floor in February to disprove climate change has a snowball's chance in Hades of disproving anything.
Kerry Emanuel, MIT atmospheric science professor: “Statistics, like all these breaking records, tell us that real change is already happening, and it poses serious risks to us and our descendants. I wonder how many more records we have to break before we all realize how important it is to act.”
Mrs. Clinton doesn't plan to wait and wonder: "I won't let anyone take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing a clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change."
Paulette Fehlig lives in Chatham.