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At a speech delivered at a North Dakota oil refinery earlier this week, President Donald Trump said he'd simply make the western drought "go away" while touting his own efforts to promote pipelines – even as the country burns and floods from coast to coast. (Photo: White House)

Climate Change Unleashes "Fire and Fury" on the United States

At some point, our policymakers need to understand that these are not simply natural disasters. Their strength, severity and human toll are intensified by our addiction to fossil fuels.

Wenonah Hauter

Weeks ago, Trump spoke of fire and fury regarding North Korea. But this supercharged hurricane and fire season is unleashing its own fire and fury on the U.S., while Trump remains impervious to the facts of fossil fuels’ contributions to these disasters.

Our hearts are with those whose lives and families were devastated by Harvey, and those who are currently battling Irma in the Caribbean and bracing for it in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Our thoughts are also with the communities fighting to protect their homes and critical infrastructure from blazing wildfires. And we stand with communities of color and low-income communities, who bear the brunt of these impacts and who disproportionately bear the burden of environmental pollution.

"We have Trump continuing to lead the denialist fray in Washington... even as the country burns and floods from coast to coast."

At some point, our policymakers need to understand that these are not simply natural disasters. Their strength, severity and human toll are intensified by our addiction to fossil fuels.

We need food, water and shelter to survive and thrive. Climate change is taking all of that away from people today. In Portland, first responders are battling to protect the city’s drinking water reservoir from the fire burning in the Colombia River Gorge. In Texas, dozens of drinking water systems were shut down and Houston’s system was hours from failure due to the Harvey floods. Our infrastructure is already suffering from lack of investment, and now we have to contend with disasters that threaten our access to water and sanitation on a more frequent basis—and which will increasingly disrupt our food supply and imperil our homes, our possessions, and our lives.

Meanwhile, we have Trump continuing to lead the denialist fray in Washington. Another climate denier was just nominated to head a critical government agency, NASA. And at a speech delivered at a North Dakota oil refinery this week, Trump said he’d simply make the drought there ‘go away’ while touting his own efforts to promote pipelines – even as the country burns and floods from coast to coast.

Fortunately, there is leadership in Washington to address the climate crisis at a federal level. Representative Tulsi Gabbard just introduced the Off Fossil Fuels Act – co-sponsored by Representatives Jamie Raskin, Barbara Lee, Nanette Barragán, Ted Lieu, Jan Schakowsky, and Keith Ellison. This legislation rises to the challenge of what science requires to avert the worst of the climate chaos still ahead, while mandating a just and swift transition to renewables. And there is a growing grassroots movement to build the energy future we need around the country. It won’t be in time to address the fire and fury reigning down on us now, but if we act immediately, we will be able to avoid the worst impacts climate chaos holds for us and our children down the road.


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Wenonah Hauter

Wenonah Hauter

Wenonah Hauter is the executive director of the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Action. She has worked extensively on energy, food, water and environmental issues at the national, state and local level. Experienced in developing policy positions and legislative strategies, she is also a skilled and accomplished organizer, having lobbied and developed grassroots field strategy and action plans.

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