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Talking About Climate Change: Too Soon?

TempEPA chief Scott Priutt says it's "insensitive" to talk about climate change as people are wrestling with hurricanes. The response follows a request from Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado the Friday before Hurricane Irma hit Florida:

“This is the time to talk about climate change. This is the time that the president and the EPA and whoever makes decisions needs to talk about climate change,” said Regalado, who flew back to Miami from Argentina Friday morning to be in the city during the storm. “If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is. This is a truly, truly poster child for what is to come.”

Pruitt said,

“To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced," and "To use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to this people in Florida."

Pruitt has also said that he doesn't believe that carbon dioxide emissions is a major contributor to climate change. Scientists report changing "climate change" in their documentation to other words.

In a Los Angeles Times opinion article, "Harvey and Irma say this is the right time to discuss global warming," the reporter calls Pruitt's response "patently absurd." He compares the hurricanes to shootings, when it is the right time to talk about gun control.

Image source.

Discussion:

  • What's your view? Should we discuss climate change as the hurricanes are happening? What are the arguments on both sides?
  • How, if at all, might your opinion change if you or your family were victims of the hurricane?
  • For leadership character, this could be an issue of accountability and compassion. How do you see these dimensions playing a role in the debate?