It’s pretty obvious that the Trump administration isn’t bullish on addressing climate change. In fact, while Trump opposes any efforts to protect the climate, at times he seems absolutely clueless. For example, in response to a question about the human-caused (anthropogenic) contribution to climate change, Trump told the New York Times, “I'm looking at it very closely... I have an open mind to it. There is some, something.”
This is no more than a transparent attempt to walk-back his firm and clear opposition to any attempts to protect the environment or deal with climate change. Before the inauguration, he repeated promises to cancel all “job-killing restrictions” that currently protect the environment, not just those that contribute to climate change. He promised to lift production limits on coal, to cancel payments to the UN climate change program, and to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.
What can we, as citizens, do?
First, we can discard any notion that God—any god—has anything to do with climate change, for good or for bad.
I’ve heard and read Christians in particular arguing many sides of the issue, based on how they choose to believe various parts of the Bible. Here are some of those arguments.
 God is in control. He’s letting this happen because we are sinful (allowing same-sex marriage, abortion, or contraception for example).
 God is in control. The only way to make things better is to pray to Him for relief. This is especially popular with a couple of Southern goobernors, who have asked the people of their states to pray for rain.
 God is in control and it would be arrogant to believe that humans could affect the climate. That belief threatens the sovereignty of God and is blasphemy.
 What appears to be a small minority, citing Genesis 1:28, suggest that God’s command to subdue Earth and have dominion over it means that humans are stewards of Earth and should do something about climate change.
Other people, some of whom are Christian or who believe in a creator-god, also believe that He or She set the universe in motion some 13.7 billion years ago with immutable natural laws, created humans with free will, then sat back to watch what we do with free will.
Using that logic, our destructive effect on climate comes from an interaction of natural laws with human free will. We of our free will burn coal and oil creating carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas. Natural laws explained by physics, chemistry, meteorology, and other sciences explain how CO2 and sunlight interact to warm the earth.
Other natural laws, some modeled quite well by climatologists, explain how that warmth melts permafrost, releasing methane (CH4) another greenhouse gas that creates more warmth in a positive feedback loop.
Warmth melts arctic ice, exposing more water that absorbs more sunlight warming more water in another positive feedback loop.
Warmth melts Greenland and Antarctic glaciers, contributing to sea level rise. Warmth expands the ocean (yes, it really does) contributing to sea level rise.
Warmth also causes the ocean to release CO2 dissolved in the water—another positive feedback.
There are other natural laws that come into play. They will be discussed in future blog posts.
Getting back to the original question. What can a citizen do?
We need to accept that we are responsible for the production of CO2 that is perhaps the greatest driver of climate change.
Suggesting a letter or email to the president or a member of a congressional delegation is pretty naïve. On the other hand, it couldn’t hurt. There are links at the bottom of the page that might help. Demand that we continue to fund climate change studies, especially the UN-chartered Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Demand that we sign-up to the Paris Climate Accord and its goals. Demand that the EPA be allowed to regulate CO2 as an environmental pollutant. Demand that coal production limits not be lifted, but enforced and expanded.
Suggesting recycling is pretty naïve, too. There are legitimate questions about the effectiveness of recycling anything other than aluminum cans, perhaps paper, and perhaps some plastic. On the other hand, recycling those three things might do more good than harm.
Suggesting conserving electricity at home is also naïve. We’ve probably gone about as far as we can, there: low-wattage fluorescent bulbs, unplugging the vampires (chargers for cell phones, tablets, etc.) when not actually in use, for example.
Suggesting conserving vehicle fuel by driving hybrid cars, smaller cars, carpooling, consolidating errands, eschewing drive-throughs at banks and fast-food places, is definitely naïve. The American love affair with the automobile, the desire to be in control, and the absolute necessity of lining up, engines and air conditioners running, to drop off and pick up children at schools that are already served by school busses… no, we will keep burning gasoline and diesel until that source of energy is exhausted.
Perhaps the best thing we can do as individual citizens is to learn not only what the government (the current administration and its congressional supporters) plans to do, but also about climate change. I’ve included a couple of links that might be of interest, including a leading site that offers arguments against global warming. I hope also that you will continue to read this blog. I plan to focus more on climate change, both historical and contemporary.
For a dystopian look at where unbridled climate change might lead, please consider purchasing a copy of “Holy Fire,” which you will find on the home page of this web site. Royalties are assigned to the Friends of the Peachtree City Library. Thank you for considering this.
Trump on climate change reported at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37982000. See also many recent blog entries on this site.
How to write to Trump: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/write-or-call
How to find your Representative in Congress:
How to find your Senator:
Tips for writing letters to Congresspersons:
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: https://www.ipcc.ch/
Skeptical Science (“Pro” Global Warming): https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php
For a counter-view (“Anti” Global Warming): http://www.climate-skeptic.com/category/skeptic-summaries
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.