Trump Prepares to Surrender Our Planet

December 17, 2016 Carol No comments exist

Trump Prepares to Surrender Our Planet to Climate Change

We are at a tipping point – cut back fossil fuel use or pay a brutal price. As Trump prepares to surrender our planet, what are we prepared to do about it?

Word over the weekend that the front-runner for Secretary of State under Donald Trump is CEO of the world’s biggest oil company, Exxon-Mobil. Climate change denier and top foe of EPA policy, Scott Pruitt, is up to head the EPA. And pro-drilling Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Secretary of Interior. Climate scientists say we are at a tipping point – cut back fossil fuel use or pay a brutal price. Trump says pedal to the metal. This hour On Point: The incoming Trump administration and the environment. — Tom Ashbrook, President-Elect Trump And The Environment | On Point

Trump and His Fossil Fuel Friends

Trump has made numerous attacks on science and reason when it comes to climate change. Just this week he proclaimed, “No one knows whether climate change is true or not.” 

 

Mr. Trump has said he wants to:

  • Exit the Paris climate deal
  • Stop payments to the UN fund for programs to fight climate change
  • Expand fossil fuel production on public lands
  • Rescind greenhouse gas limits

And look what he’s done:

  • His appointees to run the transition team in places like the Department of Energy are busily compiling a blacklist of anyone who’s had anything to do with climate science or has attended any international meetings.
  • His appointees for Secretary of State, Head of EPA, and Secretary of Interior are three of his fossil fuel friends.

The Paris climate accord was the closest thing we had to everyone beginning to move in that direction [renewable energy]. They were approved by the heads of state of every country on earth. Our guy, Mr. Trump, who’s announced that he’s a really smart guy, so smart that he doesn’t need to take intelligence briefings, apparently has decided that he know more than all the climate scientists, and all the other heads of state, so good luck to him, and good luck to us all. — Bill McKibbenPresident-Elect Trump And The Environment | On Point

Nominee for Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson

Trump Prepares to Surrender Our Planet
Rex Tillerson and Vladimir Putin. AP

The Secretary of State has big role in discussions with other countries about climate policy, and greenhouse gas reductions that they’re willing to make. 

Tillerson:

  • Is CEO of the world’s biggest oil company, Exxon-Mobil
  • Has had close connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin
  • As head of Exxon, has taken awards from the Russian government, a government that may well have hacked our election system 
  • Has said that humans can adapt to climate change

See Q&A: Secretary of State Pick Could Affect Climate Policy.

Nominee for Head of EPA: Scott Pruitt

You talked about Mr. Pruitt at the EPA. It’s not just that he comes from Oklahoma, and so he favors the fossil fuel industry. He’s literally a stenographer for that industry. He filed letters with the White House and the EPA that were later found out to have been xeroxed copies of letters provided for him by fossil fuel companies within his state. His state of Oklahoma, with him in its government, defending the industry every inch of the way, has gone from being a place where there were no earthquakes to being the most seismically active part of the United States, because wastewater from frack wells injected into its geology are causing earthquakes two, three, four times a day, some of them big. What did Oklahoma, where Mr. Pruitt comes from, do about this? It held a day of prayer earlier this year in order to ask God to increase the price of oil so that the economy of the oil patch would improve. — Bill McKibbenPresident-Elect Trump And The Environment | On Point

Pruitt:

  • Is Attorney-General for the great oil and gas state of Oklahoma, now the most seismically active part of the United States
  • Has strong ties to fossil fuel companies from that state
  • Is literally a stenographer for the fossil fuel industry
  • Has fought a signature Obama clean power plan all the way to the Supreme Court, causing the Court to put that plan on hold
  • Has had lawsuits against the EPA and other environmental agencies at least 8 times
  • Wants to turn oversight of environment back to the states
  • Says climate change needs more debate

Nominee for Secretary of Interior: Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Cathy McMorris Rodgers has been U.S. Representative for Washington’s 5th congressional district since 2005.

Rodgers:

  • Is in favor of natural resource extraction
  • Would support offshore drilling on federal lands
  • Would favor fossil fuel production on federal lands

The one good thing to be said about all of this is that from this point on — with no pretense these guys own the future. If the climate disintegrates, and the climate is disintegrating, at the very least we’ll know exactly who to blame. — Bill McKibbenPresident-Elect Trump And The Environment | On Point

The Chinese Excuse

Republicans and some Democrats have been using the Chinese as an excuse to do nothing about climate control. (The childish argument has been that we should not have to do more than the Chinese — as if physics will care where the CO2 is coming from!) In any event, that excuse is evaporating. 

 

Compare the climate records of our two countries.

 

United States:

  • Historically our country remains the largest contributor of CO2 and methane to the atmosphere.
  • In states like Oklahoma, we’re fracking the heck out of things. The result has been a rapid rise in methane emissions. Those methane emissions are even more potent greenhouse gasses.

China:

  • At the moment, the Chinese use fossil fuel in proportion per capita far, far less than the United States does.
  • China has been reducing its coal use the last three years.
  • China is installing renewable energy faster than anyplace else in the world.

In fact, I think what’s going to happen here is that leadership on this issue and probably on other issues, in a discombobulated and isolationist foreign policy, is going to pass to the Chinese. I don’t think they’re going to lead us quickly enough to get us out of this problem, but it’s clear the U.S. is no longer going to be playing a serious role internationally in dealing with the greatest global problem that the planet’s ever faced. — Bill McKibbenPresident-Elect Trump And The Environment | On Point

We’re Way Behind in This Fight

Bill McKibben warns that climate change “has always been a question about pace and about trajectory.” 

Trump Prepares to Surrender Our Planet
Volunteers 350.org in the city of Salvador, Brazil, connected the dots and drawn people’s attention about the sea level rise and what it impacts in our life.

Climate change is a clear and present danger. Consider these facts:

  • 2014 set a record for heat on this planet until it was smashed in 2016.
  • Since the Industrial Revolution, we have increased the atmosphere’s concentration of carbon dioxide — known to trap heat — by an incredible 40 percent.
  • The oceans are 30% more acidic than they were 40 years ago.
  • More than half of the summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone.
  • We now look up at the Artic and down at the Antarctic and see that sea ice levels are at absolute record lows.
  • We see forest fires in places we’ve never seen them before — 3, 4, 5 degrees latitude north of where they’ve ever been observed before.
  • We’re now seeing, around the world someplace every day, record drought, or record flood, or record fire, in places where we’ve never seen that happen before. 
  • Methane is spiking at an alarming rate all around the world.

Can We Catch Up?

“The climate around us is literally falling apart. And, into that, comes a guy whose only allegiance so far as we can tell, is to the fossil fuel industry, whose servants he has now appointed. And look at those people. We’re miles behind already in the climate fight. It’s not like we were winning this under the Obama administration. There have been, in the last couple of years, culminating in that Paris agreement, a certain amount of momentum developing in the direction of clean energy, partly because the engineers have done such a good job in bringing down the price of solar power and wind power, something that has the fossil fuel industry running very, very scared. That momentum will at some level continue. People are not going to toss out their solar panels or turn their back on the technologies of the future. But this has always been a question about pace, about trajectory. Is it possible for us to move to renewable energy fast enough to even begin to catch up with physics? Clearly the Trump administration is building a big ditch in that road, if not a crevasse. I think probably, as climate scientists have been saying over the last few weeks, that they’ll be able to slow things down enough that we will never have a chance of catching up with that physics. That this is a change of administration and of ideology that will be measured in geologic time.  — Bill McKibbenPresident-Elect Trump And The Environment | On Point

Can You Look Your Grandkids in the Eye?

Trump Prepares to Surrender Our Planet
Solar panel Taos NM
davecolorado.com

I can’t get this quotation out of my mind. Read it, and let us know how it affects you.

I don’t agree with the ambassador [Amb. C. Boyden Gray]. If the ambassador can look at his grandkids, in the face, in the eyes, if he has any grandkids, and agree that we should not clean up our environment, and blame China for everything that they’re doing, well, I’m sorry for his grandkids. I live in the state of New Mexico, and we continue to build solar systems left and right. And I applaud New Mexico foe being the leader, hopefully, in the southwest, as the poorest state in the country, and we’re still pushing forward. Why can’t the United States continue to push forward and not follow what the oil industry and the coal industry want? Caller James, President-Elect Trump And The Environment | On Point

What Can We Do?

We’re going over a cliff, and going over it fast. The only thing that I can think of in that kind of situation to do is try and resist in the ways that we can, and that’s what we’ll try to do at places like 350.org. — Bill McKibbenPresident-Elect Trump And The Environment | On Point

As Trump prepares to surrender our planet, we must try and resist in the ways that we can.

Trump Prepares to Surrender Our Planet
Environmental groups are preparing to sue President-elect Donald Trump’s administration in federal court if it tries to eliminate eco-rules. Susan Walsh/AP

Environmentalists are already finding ways to resist. See Environmentalists Gird For Battle With A Trump Administration: The Two-Way: NPR and Trump is in for a fight on climate change policies: Eugene Robinson | OregonLive.com

Trump Prepares to Surrender Our Planet
Middlebury VT USA

 

We can all find ways to resist. Here are some ideas:

Above all, keep abreast of developments. Then make your voice heard!

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