"It's Just a Question of Time."

As Donald Trump keeps us waiting to hear his decision on the Paris accord, and whether we'll be [Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] only the third country out of 197 not to sign onto the climate change agreement, scientists are raising the alarm that U.S. coral reefs "are on course to largely disappear within just a few decades because of global warming."
New research has shown that strict conservation measures in Hawaii have not spared corals from a warming ocean in one of its most prized bays, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicting yet more bleaching is likely off Hawaii and Florida this summer.

...A global coral bleaching event has shifted between the northern and southern hemispheres since 2014, affecting around 70% of the world's reefs. The "terminal" condition of Australia's sprawling Great Barrier Reef, which suffered bleaching along two-thirds of its 1,400 mile length in 2016 and 2017, has provoked the greatest alarm.

But scientists have pointed out that America's main reefs, found off Hawaii, Florida, Guam, and Puerto Rico, are facing a largely unheralded disaster.

"The idea we will sustain reefs in the US 100 years from now is pure imagination, at the current rate it will be just 20 or 30 years, it's just a question of time," said Kim Cobb, an oceanographer at Georgia Tech. "The overall health of reefs will be severely compromised by the mid point of the century and we are already seeing the first steps in that process."

..."This is another data point on the staggering breadth of damage across the global oceans," Cobb said. "You can run but you can't hide from the train wreck that is coming. The recent bleaching has been a brush with death and shows that this fatal stress is upon us."
Most of the people reading this will be alive in 20 or 30 years. The idea that a severely compromised environment as a result of global warming is something with which future generations will have to reckon is a fantasy.

I'm sure I've said this before, but: One thing I will never understand is how members of the press who bent over backwards to create a false equivalency between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and voters who promulgated narratives about how there was "no difference" between the two candidates, could have been so aggressively indifferent to the issue of climate change.

Even if the only difference between them had been that Clinton didn't think climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, that should have been enough. That is enormous.

I haven't written about this much—in fact, I believe I've written about it only once, ten years ago—but a major part of the reason I supported Bill Clinton's ticket in 1992 was because Al Gore was his running mate, and I was a huge fan of this Senator from Tennessee who was talking about "the environment," way back when this issue wasn't widely called "climate change," or even "global warming," but was mostly about "the ozone layer" and "greenhouse gases."

I was very hopeful, then, that we might have leadership that cared about protecting the environment. I am much more pessimistic now, because 25 years have been passed, most of them entirely wasted in terms of meaningful policy. So I don't write very much about climate change, but it is always on my mind.

I desperately hope Trump will do the right thing, and I fear that he won't. I fear that, even if he does, it's too little too late.

Just a question of time. And less time than we might like to think.

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