Joe Henderson: Kathy Castor’s climate change work has never been more important
Unprecedented destruction in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian. Image via ABC News.

“Devastation” isn't adequate to describe what Hurricane Dorian did to Bermuda. "Annihilation" comes closer.

The word “devastation” isn’t adequate to describe what Hurricane Dorian did to Bermuda. We need a stronger word, something like “annihilation” maybe. The images looked like a preview from the end of days.

But for U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa, the word that best fits what she must feel now is “motivation.” As head of the House committee to confront climate change, Castor is the point person against twin environmental issues that threaten the planet.

First is the damage already done. Climate change may not be creating more hurricanes, but the ones that do form carry unprecedented deadly potential thanks to over-heated oceans and seas.

Second, Castor must watch as President Donald Trump systematically overturns many of the environmental protections enacted in the last decade.

Methane is a major contributor to climate change, but Trump rolled back safeguards to reduce levels of the gas in the atmosphere.

He announced that move even as Dorian gained strength.

That basically was an upraised middle finger to environmentalists.

“We need to be clear here: Trump isn’t just undermining our ability to tackle the climate crisis – he’s undermining our democracy,” she recently tweeted. “This is what corruption looks like.”

It certainly makes Castor’s job more difficult, as does Republican push-back in general.

The top Republican on the climate committee, Rep. Garret Graves is one of the skeptics.

Last week he told the Washington Examiner the goal by Democrats to mandate strict clean energy goals is unrealistic.

That prompted this comeback from Castor.

“Some Republicans are changing how they talk about this issue, but very few of them have backed legislation that would actually address the climate crisis,” Castor told the newspaper.

“Our hearings have provided ample reasons to act and plenty of examples of solutions that are ready right now. If they don’t support innovation, if they don’t support setting goals in line with science, what do they support?”

That, of course, is the essential question that stands in the way of real progress. The GOP talking point seems to be about “adaptive solutions.”

In other words, keep on the same path and figure how to live with storms like Dorian.

Ask people in the Bahamas how they “adapted” this week.

And against that backdrop is Hurricane Dorian. For the last several years, people have looked at storms like Matthew, Irma, Florence, and Michael with a sense it was something they had never seen before.

Dorian may top them all, at least until the next ones along.

Something has to change, and it probably starts with Castor’s committee. Maybe she can coax some moderate Republicans who have been on the fence about the cause of climate change to reconsider.

It’s too much about politics and not enough about people, and I think moderate Republicans get that.  They just have to speak up against the dunderheads in their party that mock climate science.

If enough of them speak out, it might create enough momentum to get back on the right environmental path. Knowing Kathy Castor, that is plenty of motivation to keep up the fight. The work she is doing now to combat climate change has never been more important.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Dan

    September 4, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Comrade Joe and his propaganda column continues with his Socialistic watermelon politics. He addresses the young Useful Idiots with the Al Gore fearful but highly ignorant views for idiots. Hurricane Andrew was for stronger than any recent ones and he forgot about Katrina, but the Strongest hit Houston over 100 years ago but true young people born since 2000 has never seen Hurricanes this strong… Yet if the Socialists can steal your wealth and spread their “Equality in Poverty” using the Global Warming Ponzi Scheme with the Oligarchy taking their commission, All American’s would have lost. If they truly worried about Carbon they would address mass carbons coming from China & India… yet they follow the money, not the pollution. These self serving politicians and their media cohorts create schemes daily to rob you of your wealth, disarm you and to dumb down America.

    • sandyo

      September 5, 2019 at 12:01 am

      Heck, how much power DO YOU THINK USA HAS OVER WHAT CHINA OR INDIA DO about much of anything???

  • gary

    September 4, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    This dog don’t hunt Joe! Americans do not buy the poop you are selling!


Comments are closed.


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