Climate Change, Tobacco, and Vaping Denial

Climate Change, Tobacco, and Vaping Denial.

It seems the leading stories are all connected to climate denial, and its predecessor, to deny that tobacco causes cancer.

We celebrate that National Security Council senior director for emerging technologies and lead climate denier Will Happer has resigned, a day after National Security Advisor John Bolton was fired/resigned, and then trashed by Trump.  Apparently, Happer’s secret committee to find arguments for climate deniers was cancelled early this summer.

While we are happy that Super-Hawk John Bolton is gone, we were more unhappy when Trump dredged back to hire him in the first place.  The fact that he killed the Iranian nuclear non-proliferation treaty was a great setback.

In a new poll, 64% or about 2/3 of the public wants climate action from the administration, and 32% or about 1/3 are okay with the administration.

Update 9/13:  Now, Trump is just saying that we need to remove fake e-cigarettes, which of course helps the e-cigarette companies.

Trump waffled on regulating vaping, or e-cigarettes, like he always does on guns.  It’s a Great industry that provides many jobs, and he is all about jobs, he says.  He’ll look into it.  He had to cite Melania and her son (not his too?) as a reason to at least (and at most?) ban flavored vapes, since they appeal to young people.  The head of some agency, which I didn’t catch, said they would do that.  Somebody said that they had already issued a thousand warnings about selling to minors, but did not mention any enforcement, as usual.  We all know that Trump has structured all agencies to ignore science.  Trump acted as if it was enough to warn the public not to vape, but not to take any action.  Where are Mitch and other Republicans on this?

Vaping has not actually been approved by the FDA.  There are all of a sudden 6 deaths and 450 medical cases from vaping.  The key point is that this all started in the 40’s when the Tobacco industry denied the connection between smoking and lung cancer.  Those deniers and their associations became the climate deniers of the present.  Trump has rapidly transferred the USDA scientists to Kansas City, possibly getting rid of half of them. 

The other week-long story is Trump’s unjustified late forecast that Hurricane Dorian would attack Alabama.  The National Weather Service in Birmingham Alabama had to issue a report saying that Birmingham was not a target, after being deluged with concerned calls.  That escalated when Trump stuck compulsively to his “natural science genius” guns.  That escalated to NOAA administrators and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatening weathermen with being fired.  That would have been amazing since federal employee firings have to be justified, and can be appealed legally.  Yesterday, we learned that Ross himself was ordered by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

The thing that bothers me about the media focus on that story is that it concerned one day on one storm on one city weather service.  What about the unheralded wars of attacks on climate science and the exploitive attacks on the environment in all agencies and all environments that Trump is waging every day?

So, NOAA and the National Weather Service run programs quite similar to the climate models used for climate change.  They are now being pressured the same way that climate scientists are being pressured and climate advisory panels are being dropped.  

The National Weather Service is so understaffed, that employees had hit the statutory cap on overtime pay to fill shifts.  NOAA acting director Dr. Neil Jacobs defended Trump’s budget cutting 18% or a billion dollars from NOAA.

NOAA has not had a Senate confirmed director during the Trump Administration.  It’s acting head is Dr. Neil Jacobs, who was chief atmospheric scientist at the private weather company Panasonic Weather Solutions.   He avoids using the term “climate change”. Trump’s nominee to head NOAA is Barry Myers, the CEO of AccuWeather.  Both make money doing what NOAA should be doing in weather forecasting.  These are Trump’s usual business conflicts of interest. 

Yesterday, there were Washington Post articles that 10% of the Earth’s surface has already reached the dangerous 2.0º C or 3.6º F, and that 20% has already exceeded the Paris Accords goal of 1.5º C or 2.7º F. 

Today, the Creature From the Swamp attacked the Clean Water Rule, which protects streams for clean water, and protects wetlands which control flooding.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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