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Climate Adaptation Is Our lane

Should we now color outside the lines?

Consequence management is our typical lane that we have normally stayed in. I’ve often said that if the building falls down in an earthquake or is blown up by a terrorist, our mission and function remains the same. We deal with the consequences and, especially with terrorists, we don’t work in the “prevention” side of things for the cause.

For climate change we deal in climate adaptation. We are “adapting” to the impacts, not working on the prevention, which is the carbon reduction side of things.

The above keeps us neutral in the arguments about fossil fuels and how they are impacting the long-term health of our ecosystems.

It allows us to act like Switzerland, neutral on the topic and not engaging in any debate about the cause of climate change. That being human caused or, as some might still argue, climate variability, meaning the natural flux in temperatures from one ice age to another, etc.

Should we continue this dance — that I myself have played and danced to? Or, should we back up science and “engage” with those who would contest that climate change is not real or human caused? I expect that is a very individualistic choice, but I’m ready to engage any deniers at this point. When it comes down to “where did you stand” in the history books, what will your life story say about you?

Last point, as evidence continues to mount about the causes of climate change as being human linked, I’ve seen the arguments shift a bit. Now the bigger argument being made is, “Why should we make all the sacrifices here in the USA in carbon reduction when there are even worse polluters out there in the world?” Another “America first” position of sorts.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.