Dear Trump Administration; Sincerely, A Citizen of Earth

The fact is, anthropogenic climate change is real, and denying it is denying reality

Illustrator: Taylor Daniels

Illustrator: Taylor Daniels

There has been increasing public concern that the Trump administration will delete climate data. So far, the climate change website has been removed from the White House page, Trump has frozen funding and ordered the EPA to cease media activity, and so on. There is especially concern among scientists, and many have saved climate data to other servers, such as European servers, to prevent Trump from suppressing and destroying the facts of our current global situation.

By disregarding climate change, the Trump administration is making a choice to put humans’ lives last. By ignoring climate change, the administration ignores the people.

Climate change is real, is happening, and is a global problem. We don’t live in our own bubbles separated from everyone and everything invincible to consequences. We live on a planet in which we’re all connected—with each other and the environment.

Climate change is mainly human-caused, and the impacts of climate change have been rippling out. Each year brings new record temperatures, a rise in droughts, and heat waves. Higher temperatures may affect levels of air pollutants, and may therefore result in an increase in cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Extreme temperatures may also result in the loss of over 1.2 billion hours of labor by 2100.

The ice sheets are melting. And while it is normal for ice sheets to melt or retreat back a bit each summer, high temperatures have exacerbated the effect, resulting in increasing sea levels—an average of 0.13 inches per year, which is about twice as fast as the average rise eight years ago. The global average sea level has risen as much as eight inches since 1880. In the past 50 years, the local sea level for Galveston, Texas has risen 12.5 inches.

By ignoring climate change, the administration ignores the people.

In major U.S. cities such as Boston, Charleston, New York City, Washington D.C., Atlantic City, and Norfolk, the local sea level has risen six inches or more since 1963. For southern Florida, it’s a bit more alarming—sea level may rise as much as seven feet by the end of the century.

Agriculture is impacted by climate change. Currently, frost-free periods are 15 days longer than they were in the early part of the 20th century in the U.S. Yet, this also means that pests live longer since the warm season is extended, wreaking havoc on agricultural yields and human health.

Changes in the food availability of nutritious crops because of rising temperatures could be responsible for at least an additional 500,000 deaths worldwide by 2050. Wildfires are burning twice as much area, and the overall frequency of wildfires in the western United States has increased 500 percent in the past 40 years. Over seven million acres of forest could be destroyed by climate change induced wildfires, costing the U.S. $940 to $1.4 billion. It may cost the U.S. $180 billion due to drought and water shortage if no action is taken to combat climate change.

In 2016, there was $53.5 billion worth of damage to the U.S. economy as a result of climate-related disasters and extreme weather.

Climate change also adversely affects national security. According to Marc Levy, Deputy Director of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, “Climate change has contributed to the emergence of civil war, refugee flows and other elements of instability.”

To obstruct, devastate, or destroy the precious resources upon our planet is a crime against basic human needs.

The U.S. military has said that extreme weather events, such as food shortages and flooding, can lead to destabilization of governments. Rising sea levels may lead to mass evacuations for millions of people living on or near coastlines. By 2015, over 200 million people could be displaced from their homes, a global estimate that also includes the U.S. in the calculation. Clearly, climate science is crucial for more reasons beyond warmer winters.

Climate data—scientific, empirical data collected by scientists from all disciplines—has contributed to the growing knowledge base on how anthropogenic climate change has changed and will change our future.

We aren’t just one person, or even a country of people. Each person on planet Earth is part of the human race. It goes without saying that by being a part of the human race we accept that we are dependent upon the resources provided by our planet.

To obstruct, devastate, or destroy the precious resources upon our planet is a crime against basic human needs. To suppress science and not address climate change as a critical, long-term problem that all countries and all people face is a crime against humanity. To disregard anthropogenic climate change as a hoax is endangering the entirety of humankind.