Despite the fact that President Donald Trump used his first State of the Union address Tuesday night to celebrate "beautiful, clean coal" and further his war on the environment, the Democratic Party's official rebuttal to Trump's speech—delivered by Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.)—didn't once mention the climate crisis or how Trump's policies threaten to dangerously accelerate its already horrific consequences.
"The extent to which top Democrats have just blocked their ears and blindfolded their eyes and gagged themselves on the severity of present climate change is disturbing."
—Bill HumphreyIndeed, the word "climate" did not appear at all in Kennedy's speech; the only reference to Trump's assault on the environment came in one brief line buried within a discussion of the president's pro-corporate agenda and alleged Russian interference in U.S. elections.
Kennedy "didn't bring up global warming, sea-level rise, or the surge in global greenhouse gas emissions, which threaten to become worse as the Republican White House ramps up fossil fuel production to unprecedented levels," notes the Huffington Post's Alexander Kaufman.
These are glaring omissions, particularly given the abundance of signs all around us that the climate crisis is worsening at a terrifying rate.
As Common Dreams has reported, government agencies have deemed 2017 one of the hottest years on record; wildfires, hurricanes of unprecedented strength, and other natural disasters made 2017 the costliest year on record for damages related to extreme weather events; and the world's oceans last year hit the hottest temperatures ever recorded "by far."
No direct mention of climate change in Kennedy's response. Dems should be embarrassed by this at this point.— Kate Sheppard (@kate_sheppard) January 31, 2018
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the extent to which top Democrats have just blocked their ears and blindfolded their eyes and gagged themselves on the severity of present climate change is disturbing— Bill Humphrey (@BillHumphreyMA) January 31, 2018
In contrast to Kennedy's speech, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) specifically highlighted human-caused climate change in his State of the Union response, asking, "How can a president of the United States give a State of the Union speech and not mention climate change?"
"No, Mr. Trump, climate change is not a 'hoax,'" Sanders said. "It is a reality which is causing devastating harm all over our country and all over the world and you are dead wrong when you appoint administrators at the EPA and other agencies who are trying to decimate environmental protection rules, and slow down the transition to sustainable energy."