Editorial snapshots

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad:

Global warming sparks fires

Wildfires have forced people to flee their homes during a pandemic. As if 2020 couldn’t get any worse.

And yet, this terrifying start to fire season was entirely predictable. Forecasters have repeatedly warned that climate change will fuel larger, more frequent, and more devastating wildfires in the state. And that’s what we’re seeing. The 10 largest fires in the state have occurred since 2000.

Higher temperatures and prolonged droughts are making more areas of the state vulnerable to fire, including geography that has been considered lower risk, such as the usually damp, cool coastal redwood forests of Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties that have burned over the last week. The fires began the same week that Death Valley hit 130 degrees, the hottest temperature recorded on the planet in almost a century.

There was little the state could do to prevent these fires. They weren’t caused by poorly maintained power lines or sparks from a vehicle. Instead, thousands of dry lightning strikes have set off many small fires that merged into conflagrations.

Given the size, severity and number of fires, there simply are not enough firefighters or equipment available in California or neighboring states to respond. The western U.S. is under siege, and we are unprepared.

As bad as California’s wildfires are now, the coming years are likely to be even worse as the planet continues to warm. And it’s not just fires. The state is facing more floods, coastal erosion and deadly heat waves.

California is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but we are not alone. Intense weather events are becoming more common around the planet, and they will overwhelm communities unless we act now. That means, rather than prolonging our reliance on fossil fuels, doing everything possible to slash the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet. And at the same time, it means doing everything possible to adapt communities and infrastructure to the reality that climate is already creating environmental havoc.

– Los Angeles Times

A party without a platform

In recent years, people have tended to ignore or even gently deride the deliberations of party platform committees. All these arguments over arcane questions of policy, and for what? The nominee, if elected, won’t be bound by any of it.

True enough. Yet the Republican decision this year to adopt no policy platform whatsoever shines a light on the democratic significance of the exercise — and the alarming vacuity of the Republican Party under President . The Republicans are announcing that they stand for nothing. The party’s only reason for being is to gain and retain power for itself and its comparably unprincipled leader. What kind of future can there be for such a party? And how healthy can the two-party system be if one party has no principles?

Leading up to the Democratic convention, supporters of former vice president spent hours debating with supporters of some of the candidates he had beaten for the nomination, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). If elected, Mr. Biden and Democrats in Congress won’t be bound by it, but the exercise will help shape their governing priorities. It was a useful democratic exercise.

The Republicans can’t risk such a debate. Many of the party’s senators and other leaders used to have principles, or at least claimed to. They believed in fiscal rectitude, free trade, limited executive power. Now, they have fallen in line behind a president who believes in none of that. So, are they the party of managed trade, unbridled presidential power, unlimited debt? No one wants to say that. Instead, they define themselves as the party of Donald J. Trump.

And because they believe in nothing, they can put up no resistance when deranged and dangerous conspiracy-mongers move in, as has happened in several GOP congressional primaries.

What is Mr. Trump’s “America first” agenda. No one dares spell it out, because he doesn’t know.

And in a cult of personality, the government itself becomes the property of the leader. He wants to give his acceptance speech on the South Lawn of the White House? He wants to use the country’s chief diplomat, the secretary of state, as one more political prop?

The party can only cheer its approval.

– The Washington Post

Read original article here.