Paul Hampton

I hope there’s a political storm headed toward Congress

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Fort McMurray Fire Chief Darby Allen look over the devastation during a visit to Fort McMurray, Canada, on May 13.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Fort McMurray Fire Chief Darby Allen look over the devastation during a visit to Fort McMurray, Canada, on May 13. AP/The Canadian Press File

“Gulf waters are freakishly warm, which could mean explosive storms.”

That’s a headline I’d rather not see, perched as we are on the northern edge of the Gulf. But I’m afraid I’d better to learn to spell “freakishly” because I think I’m going to be using it a lot.

It seems every other weather story begins with “freakishly” or “unprecendented” or “record.” Those climate-change “alarmists” used to warn us “global warming” wouldn’t just manifest itself in warmer weather. (So you can stop sending me links to weather stories every time our temperature dips below freezing.) Instead, they warned, expect an increase in extreme weather events. Katrina, Sandy, the Louisiana flood, for example.

The World Meteorological Organization noted the trend in its State of the Global Climate released last week.

A Category 5 storm hit Fiji, the strongest storm ever recorded there. There were unprecedented cyclones in China’s Fujian province and in the southwest Indian Ocean. Major droughts: Rainfall was generally 30 percent below normal in a large part of Chile, just one of many drought-stricken regions.

Canada had the most damaging and costly wildfire in its history.

There are several schools of thought on climate change.

1. We are either causing it or exacerbating it and should knock it off.

2. We’re not causing it and even if we were, it’s too late to do anything, and Little Rock always wanted a beach.

3. It’s just the price of doing business (as they pack their bug-out bags just ahead of the locusts).

4. I’m a politician. What’s trending?

I’ve always opted for No. 1, even though reducing my own carbon footprint to the size of a sparrow’s isn’t going to do anything to get us off this slippery slope to hell on Earth.

The only way to change this is to motivate those politicians to, for once, take the long view. I know. We’re doomed.

President Donald Trump and Mick Mulvaney, his budget director, say climate-change spending is a waste of taxpayer money. The Trump budget cuts EPA spending by 31 percent.

Our own congressman and senators aren’t fans of fighting climate change, either.

You’d think it would be a slam dunk for a Gulf Coast congressman to be worried about climate change. Not ours. He wants to seriously curtail the EPA’s activities, co-sponsoring a bill that would kill it to make his point. New EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said carbon dioxide is not a “primary contributor.”

But perhaps the winds are shifting in the halls of Congress. Thirteen Republicans and 13 Democrats have joined forces in the Climate Solutions Caucus. Florida Republicans Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and South Carolina’s Mark Sanford get it.

“For a long time now, the Republican Party has dismissed this issue,” Sanford told reporter Curtis Tate of McClatchy’s Washington Bureau, “even though the scientific consensus has been clear.”

That’s right — the science is settled. We are starting to see firsthand that something is amiss.

And yet, many of the people most able to help us change this deadly and damaging trend, refuse.

There’s a another trend, a feel-good aspect to this story that ought to be a little unsettling to those feeling so secure in their seats of power that they ignore the people.

Time and again we have seen regular people stand up to those in power. Time and again those in power have backed down.