BOSTON (CBS) – This has been some storm season, hasn’t it?
From Houston getting swamped by Harvey, to Irma hammering the Caribbean and parts of Florida, to the nightmare that’s unfolding in Puerto Rico, it’s a scary time, especially for coastal regions like ours. And inevitably, news stories like this re-ignite the longstanding arguments over global warming and their impact on climate change and extreme weather.
You know the drill – many global warming believers insist the science is settled and want new taxes on business and other political steps taken to combat the threat. Some global warming skeptics – President Trump included – insist the whole thing is a fraud.
Unsurprisingly, few in either camp are interested in even discussing any middle ground positions like a NASA report that tries to avoid the political stalemate by noting the increasing intensity of storms and calling for steps to be taken to guard against their impact. That was over a decade ago.
Protecting against storm damage seems like a no-brainer, like the many millions in potential damage that’s been averted by the New Bedford hurricane barrier, the largest in the country, since its construction in the 1960s.
But in today’s insanely-polarized political culture, where extremists on the left want climate-change skeptics muzzled and extremists on the right view any attempt to mitigate weather damage with reflexive suspicion, even no-brainers are sometimes non-starters.
Common ground needs to be found, fast.
Maybe we could start with the notion that what we’re witnessing this summer is a call to action, not inertia.