A re-fashioned meeting on the threats of climate change to human health, canceled after the election of Donald Trump as president, got underway in Atlanta on Thursday, with former Vice President Al Gore, the event organizer, warning that some well-populated areas of the planet are on the verge of becoming uninhabitable.
Those spot include the holiest cities of Islam, Gore said.
The multi-day climate summit was originally to be held at the headquarters of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but was canceled last year, after Trump’s election. Trump has been a climate change skeptic.
Today’s slimmed-down event was held at the Carter Center, with Gore offering a keynote summary of the day’s topics of discussion. Said Gore:
“This is a relatively new finding, that in some areas of the Middle East and north Africa, there will be, according to the scientific predictions, areas that will no longer be fit for human habitation – beyond the limits for human survival.
“The holy cities of Mecca and Medina are in this zone. Two years in Iran, the heat index – the combination of temperature and humidity – reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit…No human being can live for more than a few hours outdoors in those conditions.
“This has been cited by some scientific experts as a trend that’s going to get worse, and will render some of these regions uninhabitable. So the refugee crisis that is even now destabilizing Europe, could become significantly worse.”
That was perhaps the largest impact of climate change cited by Gore. But the former vice president also pointed to more mundane changes ahead – including increased suffering from allergies:
“Grains of pollen per cubic meter are expected to almost triple in the next 25 years…Ragweed is expected to increase by 320 percent throughout the balance of this century.”
Gore also predicted an “enormous increase” in the toxicity of poison ivy.
Fast food executive Andy Puzder on Wednesday became the first of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks to withdraw from Senate consideration. The main reason why: Lack of support among Republicans.
One GOP senator who kept his mouth shut on Puzder? Johnny Isakson, who also happens to lead the Senate subcommittee that oversees labor issues.
Isakson signaled early optimism about Trump’s pick for secretary of labor but ultimately vowed to reserve judgment until after Puzder’s confirmation hearing. That hearing was delayed four times and now won’t occur.
Following Wednesday’s news, all Isakson had to say was, “I respect Mr. Puzder’s decision.”
… Collins said he has begun answering his own phone more frequently.
If all of his staff is busy and he has a free minute, he picks it up himself, he said. He will also take over difficult calls from overwhelmed interns and staffers. That takes many callers by surprise, he said.
“I’ll say, ‘This is Doug Collins,'” and usually the person on the other end is confused and will ask if he is the congressman, he said, adding it usually helps disarm potentially angry callers.