Sheldon: It shouldn’t matter what you ‘believe’ about climate change, Mr. President (column) | VailDaily.com

Sheldon: It shouldn’t matter what you ‘believe’ about climate change, Mr. President (column)

Steve Sheldon
Valley Voices

The government quietly released its requisite National Climate Assessment report on Black Friday, Nov. 24, and the president immediately said he didn't believe it.

So, let me get this straight. Our ill-informed president who barely reads and needs poster presentations to understand key issues gets to be the sole determinant of whether the most powerful country on the planet engages in saving our planet from greenhouse emissions that are leading to global warming? Where is the rest of our democracy? Where are the checks and balances our forefathers assured us would protect us from such autocracy?

Let me preface by saying I am no expert on climate change. But neither is he (and I guarantee you he did not stay at a Holiday Inn last night).

Decades ago, I read the book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." One of the take-home messages was that highly effective people employ professionals to do their professional work. They do not do their own accounting, nor do they represent themselves legally. They do oversee their professionals and question them when necessary, but mostly they let them do what they were trained to do.

Highly effective people certainly do not casually dismiss the nation's top scientists from 13 federal agencies with statements like, "I don't believe it."

One must conclude the only impetus for his actions are political and economic. He is a self-stated coal lover. No one loves coal more than you, right Mr. President? Sadly, not even coal miners like coal.

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As I flew over the Gulf of Mexico last week, I noticed all the oil rigs and commented to myself, "I look forward to the day when we move away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy. I think eons down the road humans will look back on this period as necessary for our growth as a species, but also as an archaic and destructive one."

Unfortunately, I surmise the president would fly over the gulf, look at all the oil rigs and proclaim, "Omg, how beautiful are all those rigs. I just love oil."

When I ran for Congress, I encountered so many wonderful people who worked in the oil and gas industry. Young, old, friend, foe and neighbor, so many of our fellow citizens are employed by this industry. They asked me if I was anti-fracking and anti-gas and oil. "No," I said, "I am pro-renewable, and I am pro-incentivizing and subsidizing a slow transition, so you all don't lose your jobs."

For better or worse, their economy is tied to our economy and we cannot simply cut the head off the snake. We need to charm and change the snake.

The course our nation and world must steer is obvious to anyone with even half a brain. We must move toward renewable energy. We must also re-join the global effort and Paris Climate accord.

I am happy to see that Colorado's newly elected governor, Jared Polis, is committed to leading our state toward renewable energy. I am also happy that newly elected members of Congress, including our own Rep. Joe Neguse, are working on a green initiative. Yes, it will be expensive. Yes, it is necessary.

Unfortunately, it is quite disturbing to know that the future of our planet may rest on the shoulders of a man who refuses to accept expert scientific opinion from his own scientists and who also refuse to accept a world consensus on climate change.

The good news is that you can have an effect. Unlike our president, who offers very few solutions to problems but is quite good at blame, I believe we can effect change. Contact your representatives, your governor, your senators. Tell them you believe the 13 scientific agencies and that they need to stand up to the president and tell him to stand down. Support legislators who believe climate change is real and who are willing to work toward renewable energy.

It is up to us to save our planet. We only have one.

Steve Sheldon is an Eagle resident.