On Saturday, at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, the United States, along with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, acted to block the endorsement of the IPCC's recently released landmark climate change report.
The report notes the urgency of Earth's climate crisis, laying out the imminent impact of rising temperatures as well as guiding policymakers on how to offset the impact.
By this point, the scientific community is virtually unanimous on the need to address climate change and Americans agree that policy changes to slow the impacts are not only sensible, but vital.
For this reason, Americans found it maddening that the United States joined the small chorus of voices refusing to edorse the report, with the State Department saying
"The United States was willing to note the report and express appreciation to the scientists who developed it, but not to welcome it, as that would denote endorsement of the report. As we have made clear in the IPCC and other bodies, the United States has not endorsed the findings of the report."
Many had a problem with the U.S. taking the side of Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Many saw the action as just another facet of an administration that's long combated sensible climate policy in exchange for oil and coal.
Many called out President Donald Trump's unyielding devotion to oil and gas.
The Trump administration's inaction has worsened domestically as well. The President publicly doubted the conclusions reached by 13 agencies of his own government in the Fourth National Climate Change Assessment, which also warned of the urgent need for action lest the United States economy decrease by 10%.
The president's justification didn't inspire much hope:
“You’re going to have to have China, and Japan, and all of Asia, and all of these other countries – you know, [the report] addresses our country. Right now, we’re at the cleanest we’ve ever been, and that’s very important to me. But if we’re clean but every other place on Earth is dirty, that’s not so good. So, I want clean air, I want clean water – very important.”
Fortunately, future Democratic lawmakers are gearing up in an effort to save the planet from the President. Incoming Democratic Representative from New York's 14th District, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has made passing sweeping climate change reforms - or a Green New Deal - her top priority, and support for the effort within the House of Representatives is quickly building.
Let's hope that Republican support for these efforts rises before the tides do.