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We must demand climate action

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Dear Editor:

The headline in the Guardian "Climate change: 'human fingerprint' found on global extreme weather" recaps the science on global warming and so-called "climate weirding," the effect climate change is having on the planet's weather.

And while attributing cause to any single event is difficult, the impacts of climate change are being seen in global weather patterns from floods and deluge to wildfire and drought. "Global warming makes temperature patterns that cause heatwaves, droughts and floods across Europe, North America and Asia more likely, scientists find" the sub-headline reads.

Despite the urgency being communicated by the science, this week the Trump administration has decided to abandon American leadership, reversing the small steps taken to date to address the climate crisis. Trump is also considering abandoning our allies and our commitment by ditching a climate agreement worked out with two hundred other nations. Scott Pruitt -- who publicly doubts the basic science of climate change and is the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency -- recently blasted the Paris Accord as a "bad deal."

Doubts, dodges and denials aside, the reality is that human-driven climate change is real and here now. The evidence arrives with the daily news cycle: record temperatures, prolonged drought, historic flooding, epic wildfires. We can still avoid even worse to come if we act boldly and decisively.

Regrettably at the very time the U.S. should be showing its quality, stepping up to this "wicked problem" with American grit and ingenuity, the Trump administration has instead signaled retreat. Still even if the Trump administration is eager to surrender on the climate challenge, America does not need to.

The U.S. is not a monarchy and Trump needs Congress to enact his agenda. Our federalist system means states can also lead. Coloradans who care about climate change need not be hamstrung by Trump's backward-looking policy. Instead we must redouble attention on our congressional delegation and other elected leaders from the federal to the state and local levels. We cannot back down. The future is watching and we stand at its threshold. Demand action. Hold leaders accountable.

Pete Kolbenschlag
Paonia

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