Hurricanes Harvey and Irma send wake-up call to climate change deniers like Trump, EPA chief Scott Pruitt & Florida Gov. Rick Scott

Our hearts go out to people and communities in Texas, Florida, and other states in the southeast of the United States following the devastation left by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

As of press time, at least 60 deaths have been caused by Hurricane Harvey, the storm that dumped several feet of rain in southeast Texas in a matter of days. At least seven people in the United States have been killed as a result of Hurricane Irma, in addition to the 37 killed in the Caribbean, including 10 in Cuba.

These back-to-back natural calamities should now serve as a wake-up call to people, especially  government officials like U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who continue to deny how we are now paying back to the abuses we have increasingly been committing against Mother Nature. We have now been reaping what we have been sowing through the effects of climate change and extreme temperatures.

Since Trump took office in January, he has already rolled back some of the environmental protection laws put in place under his predecessor, Barack Obama, and announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

I do not understand how despite proof after proof and hard evidence presented by science, there is still a debate about climate change. This just impedes how we all work together to address this problem that affects our planet and the future of living things in the world.

Even Pope Francis — who according to the Official Vatican Network, studied Chemical Technology and worked as a chemical technician before he chose the priesthood — has been weighing in on this issue, something that we have yet to see being proactively done by other religious leaders who seem to have challenges in acknowledging how faith and science are not diametrically apart from each other. The fact is: God has given man intelligence far greater than any other living things on the planet so we can take care of Mother Nature.

As BBC News reported, “Pope Francis has warned history will judge world leaders who do not act as he blasted climate change skeptics in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.”

Pope Francis is concerned that the impact of climate change will be hardest on the people of the world’s poorest countries, calling on the moral responsibility of everybody, especially those in positions of power to do something about this problem.

“All of us have a responsibility. All of us. Some small, some big. A moral responsibility, to accept opinions, or make decisions. I think it is not something to joke about,” the Pope said.

“If we don’t go back we will go down,” he warned reporters on Monday, Sept. 11. “That is true. You can see the effects of climate change with your own eyes and scientists tell us clearly the way forward.

Pope Francis quoted a phrase from the Old Testament: “Man is stupid, a stubborn, blind man.”

“Those who deny it (climate change) should go to the scientists and ask them,” the Pope said. “They are very clear, very precise.”

Why do people, especially President Trump, continue to deny the truth about climate change? What is the true underlying motivation behind this?

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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to,

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