Climate Change Should Headline Trump's SOTU

Climate Change Should Headline Trump's SOTU
AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

In his Tuesday State of the Union speech, President Trump is expected to focus on five main issues: immigration, workers, infrastructure, health care and prescription drugs, and national security.

Nobody expects him to mention climate change. But if he were truly taking on the biggest challenge and opportunity facing America, climate change would be right up there.

Rising average temperatures have proved to be a serious threat during Trump's time in office. In 2017 and 2018, the US experienced immense, deadly billion-dollar disasters worsened by rising sea levels and higher air and ocean temperatures. Hurricanes, fires, floods, and droughts all racked up a massive human and economic toll. Thousands died. Thousands remain homeless. Taxpayers are on the hook for billions in relief aid.

The recent bankruptcy of PG&E, California's largest utility, is a case in point. The company is facing upward of $30 billion in liabilities since its equipment was blamed for starting some of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in California history. That the state became such a tinderbox is due in part to ongoing changes in the climate.

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