'Climate change will not be on the agenda' of next G-7, White House says

While scientists continue to warn that climate change poses an existential threat to the planet, President Trump won’t be talking about it at next year’s G-7 summit at one of his Florida golf resorts.

“Climate change will not be on the agenda,” acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters gathered in the White House briefing room Thursday, without elaborating.

Mulvaney announced that the G-7 meetings would be held on June 10 and 11 at the Trump National Doral Golf Club, just west of Miami, an area threatened by sea level rise brought on by climate change.

With its low elevations and porous limestone bedrock, South Florida is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise. Despite warnings from the scientific community, developers including Trump have continued to invest in property that could be underwater before long.

“Just using the U.S. government projections, we could be at 11 to over 13 feet [of sea level rise] by the end of century,” Harold Wanless, director of the University of Miami’s geological sciences department and a leading expert on sea level rise, told Yahoo News. “There’s only 3 percent of Miami-Dade County that’s greater than 12 feet above sea level.”

Trump has labeled climate change a “hoax” concocted by the Chinese government in an attempt to ruin the U.S. economy, but not all members of the Republican Party agree. For the first time in a decade, Florida’s state Senate held a meeting this week to discuss the impacts of climate change, the Miami Herald reported.

President Donald Trump speaks about Turkey as he arrives at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

“There’s a younger generation of conservatives in this state that aren’t as much in denial,” Republican Sen. Tom Lee, who chairs the Committee on Infrastructure and Security, told the Herald.

Young climate activists like Sweden’s Greta Thunberg have mobilized students around the world to hold school strikes to protest inaction from world leaders on what they see as a crisis.

“Something must have changed in the debate that so many young people are speaking up and so many young people are being targeted,” Thunberg told Yahoo News in response to the mockery her movement has received from leaders like Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. “They can sense that we are making an impact. They obviously don’t want that. So they are using several methods to mock and hate.”

While Trump continues to deny the threat that climate change poses to his own properties and the world at large, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco released a report Thursday on the financial risks that global warming poses. It found that properties like Doral that are likely to be underwater in the coming years are already selling for 15 percent less than those where flooding is not a threat. Even more jarring, the report warned that climate change poses a “threat to the availability of the 30-year mortgage in various vulnerable and highly exposed areas.”

Thanks to the continued buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due primarily to the use of fossil fuels, the rate at which the polar icecaps are melting continues to exceed previous estimates. As of Aug. 1 of this year, for instance, Greenland had lost a record 12.5 billion tons of ice. This year is on pace to become the second warmest on record, and all of the top 10 hottest years on record — with the exception of 1998 — have occurred since 2005.


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