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Climate change consequences are catastrophic, speakers at Sarasota event warn

SARASOTA — Climate change is the single greatest crisis humanity has ever faced, an alarming assertion made Tuesday by Los Angeles-based investigative journalist Dick Russell to a crowd of more than 100 at the Suncoast Climate Change Symposium.

Russell, who wrote “Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” which introduces readers to energy moguls who are said to have contributed to the climate change crisis, cautioned the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium crowd that if the world fails to try to combat climate change, sea level rise will erase some coastal cities like Miami from the map. Hurricanes, fueled by increasingly warmer waters because of global warming, will become more intense and harsher, and longer nor’easters will slam the the northeast, leaving death and destruction in their paths.

Some swaths of the world, including parts of the U.S., will eventually become uninhabitable because of blistering temperatures, Russell said, adding 2017 was the third hottest year ever recorded.

“I hope that what I talked about today was alarming, but not ultimately so devastating that you won’t do anything, because believe me, this is the most serious situation that humanity has faced,” Russell warned.

Russell applauded the city of Sarasota for acknowledging climate change and taking action to offset and prevent its devastating effects. Trump Administration policies, however, have been counter-intuitive, Russell said. The White House is seeking to cut more than $2.5 billion from the annual budget of the Environmental Protection Agency — an overall reduction of more than 23 percent.