Trump Is Overheating

Here in Chicago, our most trusted meteorologist, Tom Skilling, informs us that we've experienced 100 days this year of temperatures of 80 degrees or higher. That's just shy of the record of 108.

On planet Earth, 2016 is shaping up to be the hottest on record. Already, from January through June, we've experienced the hottest six months on record, according to NASA. And scientists are concluding that, as psychologists have researched for years, hotter temperatures are leading to more aggression.

We can see this specifically on the campaign trail, where barely coherent Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is blowing a lot of hot air. Since August, he has twice implied physical threats of violence to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. First in early August, he suggested that "second amendment people," whatever that convoluted phrase means, would take care of things should she be elected. Then this month, he threatened Clinton again, falsely saying she wanted to do away with the second amendment and that because of this her Secret Service detail should disarm.

Trump is making this election the nastiest ever. If all that is righteous and good falls through and he is actually elected president, his reign--because that's what it would amount to--would usher in disaster. Aside from the political consequences, he would bring certain climate disaster. According to his campaign, he would put an oil executive in his cabinet as the head of the Department of Interior. He claims that climate change is a hoax and it shows. Meanwhile, on the side of reason, Clinton would mobilize a World War II-like effort to stop climate change.

The fact that Trump talks and thinks like a grade school bully on most issues and can't grasp any nuance leaves him hard-pressed to lead America forward on climate change. And electing Trump would prove disastrous to steps already taken to mitigate the growth in temperature-raising greenhouse gasses.

One such legacy of President Barack Obama's administration is the Clean Power Plan, a major provision in the United States' international efforts to turn around global climate trends. President Obama touted the plan at the Paris climate conference at the end of last year but the the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear arguments next week on its legality thanks to the efforts of renegade polluting states. The plan seeks to cut pollution from power plants 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. According to Javier Sierra of the Sierra Club, "By 2030, according to the EPA, the CPP would prevent 3,600 premature deaths, 1,700 heart attacks, 90,000 asthma attacks and the loss of 300,000 school and work days every year. Also annually, the plan would save us all some $54 billion in health care costs, prevent the emission of 870 million tons of carbon and drastically reduce the dumping of toxic compounds, such as sulfur and nitrogen oxides."

As on so many issues that call for a rational approach, Clinton supports the Clean Power Plan and Trump is against it. The choice is clear for climate this November.