Frank Luntz is an authentic conservative hero. He’s the communications genius who invented the phrase “death tax” to help Republicans undermine support for estate taxes on wealthy people.

And he’s the man who encouraged George W. Bush to start saying “climate change” because the words “global warming” were scaring people.

Last week, in Washington, D.C., Luntz did something most people very rarely do: He admitted he’d been wrong about soft-pedaling the issue of our warming climate.

The reason for his dramatic conversion is simple.

In December 2017, a California wildfire almost burned down his home. “The courageous firefighters of L.A., they saved my home, but others aren’t so lucky,” he told a Senate committee. “Rising sea levels, melting ice caps, tornadoes and hurricanes more ferocious than ever. It is happening.”

We should be grateful to Luntz for his effort to correct his mistakes. But we cannot wait for a climate emergency to confront every American face to face.

A hurricane in Florida or a tornado in Oklahoma is not going to make a side trip to Walla Walla to apologize for destroying homes and businesses in another part of the country. A glacier melting in Nepal is not going to knock on your door to talk about the millions of people far away in South Asia who will suffer when their supply of fresh water disappears.

We shouldn’t have to wait for a face-to-face disaster before we take a good look at the opportunities we have to create a safer, healthier world for our children and grandchildren. Reliable, renewable energy is available today that can be rolled out to power our cars, light our homes and provide millions of people with good jobs and satisfying careers.

The only thing missing is the political will to work together to solve the problems that stand in the way of those opportunities.

Bart Preecs

 Walla Walla

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