If you already understand how much of a danger Trump is to cleantech and the future livability of our planet, sign this petition, and this petition, share them with friends, and prepare to march in the streets between now and Dec 19th. After you sign, see Susan Kraemer’s long list of more things you can do to prevent Trump’s climate ruin.
The rest of this article deals with why we should not be complacent or pretend that “he won’t be that bad.” I also delve into reasons he was so successful and why he can’t be trusted.
Last week, CleanTechnica posted “Trump Won’t Stop Global Climate Action, Might Accidentally Help.” Yes, he might “accidentally” help crash our economy which would reduce CO2 emissions temporarily. I agree that Trump won’t “stop” global climate action, but he will significantly slow things down at a time when we need war-like action to speed things up.
“He won’t be that bad” is something I’d love to believe. We all would. Yet I don’t believe it. Lux Research agrees with “Trump Won’t Stop” — arctic drilling and the return of coal are unlikely — but Lux’s analysis forecasted 16% more CO2 emissions under 8 years of Trump than under Clinton. “Trump Won’t Stop” says CO2 emissions will “very probably still be lower than they are now” under Trump, but a 16% rise is enough to take America from declining to increasing emissions:
As of 2014, America emitted 15% of global CO2, second only to China at 29%. Add 16% to our emissions and we’ve increased world emissions by 2.4%. Our world-emissions percentage may be a little less as other countries grow emissions, but any increase from the second-largest emitter at a time when we must be frantically reducing emissions is a disaster for our future. Neither the USA’s nor China’s Paris NDC commitments are enough to limit warming to 2°C, and with Trump blowing up the Clean Power Plan and looking for ways to withdraw from the Paris accords, the Paris goal of keeping under 2°C is nearly hopeless under his rule.
CleanTechnica reader comments rightly point out that Lux research offers no supporting arguments or data for their 16% figure. I don’t want to blindly trust its analysis, but I’ve been unable to find any study with more openly available data. Lux says:
“Lux Research analysts evaluated Clinton’s and Trump’s proposed plans and their likely impact on adoption of various energy sources and technologies. While of course there is still uncertainty about the specifics of each candidate’s policies and how successful they would be in implementing them, from the principles each has laid out, it’s possible to make reasonable high-level estimates of the impact.”
To me, that sounds like the 16% comes from a scenario where Clinton and Trump each get some realistic subset of the things they say they want on their web sites. Of course, political and legal reality are hopelessly complicated and I don’t know that anyone can actually predict what policies will be be possible to implement. Obama’s Clean Power Plan is stuck in litigation and will likely remain so for years before being repealed under a Trump-controlled Supreme Court (unless Senators manage to block all Supreme Court nominations). On the other hand, Sierra Club attorneys successfully cut the nation’s portfolio of coal plants in half during their permitting process in the Bush years, so court decisions cut both ways.
Unfortunately, Lux would have to be pretty far off its estimates for this to be a “he won’t be that bad” scenario. We need urgent action to reduce CO2, but under Trump the world’s second-largest emitter will be slowing down its actions to limit emissions — actions that weren’t even fast enough under Obama’s plans to keep our Paris agreements. That’s bad no matter how you want to spin it.
There’s no doubt that the party in power ends up making gradual progress towards its goals (i.e., Bush still got half his proposed coal plants, and he altered the Supreme Court and federal court justices to be more friendly toward his positions). That’s even more true when the party in power is willing to consistently use illegal or immoral tactics such as Bush’s firing of federal court justices that weren’t likely to be in favor of his policies. As with Bush, Trump’s goal is to exploit poor people and the planet for the financial gain of himself and his allies, but Trump is starting with a congress and court system that seems to be more amenable to his goals. That’s bad too.
NY Times points out another reason why our president matters globally:
“In India, the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas polluter, the election of Mr. Trump has raised doubts about a willingness to move forward. Under the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, pledged that rich countries would mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020 to help poor countries make the transition to cleaner forms of energy. Indian officials have made clear that their steps to cut emissions will depend on financial aid from rich countries, but Mr. Trump has also vowed to cut all ‘global warming payments.'”
Does Trump really, truly, want to reverse climate progress?
Trump is a con man and people keep hoping his campaign rhetoric was just showmanship, but he hasn’t changed his tune after the election and his anti-environment policies are reflected in his choices for government positions:
- Climate denier Myron Ebell is his pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Climate denier and oil and gas developer Harold Hamm is among a few terrible picks for Energy Secretary. Say goodbye to DoE funding of renewable energy research.
- Chris Christie or Rudy Giuliani have been tapped for Attorney General. Say goodbye to any possibility of federal #ExxonKnew prosecution.
- In fact, every Trump pick for cabinet position is terrible not just for the planet, but for every issue those in the 99% income bracket care about.
Trump’s stated plans since the election are just as bad as the people he’s chosen. On Nov 21st, he issued a video where he pledged a series of executive actions on day 1, including “cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy, including shale energy and clean coal.” Nov 23rd he vowed to shut down NASA climate research. This may cut scientific access to satellite data and may also destroy decades of past research just as Harper did in Canada.
I suspect Trump will shirk his presidential duties as much as possible and continue holding rallies, speaking on TV, and so on, leading us further down his dark road of division and distraction. Instead of Trump TV, we’ll have Trump’s Fireside Chat. Unfortunately, that just leaves the climate-denying henchmen he’s chosen to surround himself with to run the country.
If Trump will be so bad, why did so many vote for him?
Trump is dangerous in his ability to mislead. He may sound like a clown to many people, but he knows what he’s doing. Like any good con man, he repeats the same lies over and over and over till some (disturbingly large) percentage of people believe him on an emotional level. They believe him because he speaks in tones and patterns that sound like he’s telling the truth. They believe him because he tells them what they want to hear, that heroine will be magically kept away, that jobs are coming back, that the people that have done wrong will pay. He uses “hyperbolic nonsense” like “we’ll build a wall and have Mexico pay for it” as an expression of anger that moves his followers. Those of us that aren’t angry look at that statement and laugh, thinking it’s comically stupid, but those that share his anger are drawn in by his emotional speech patterns and he becomes relatable and believable. A Trump rally is an emotional experience, not an intellectual one.
Trump is brilliant at swaying people who ignore contradictions by offering a smörgåsbord of policy choices. He wants to deport Mexicans, but no, he loves Mexicans because they’re hard workers. He wants to ban Muslims, but no, he wants to save Muslim school kids from US bombing. He wants to cut taxes on the wealthy, but no, he wants to punish Wall Street bankers.
“In Trump’s discourse A does not necessarily connect to B. If you don’t like A, just focus on B. The structure of Trump’s discourse will never demand that all the pieces be connected. That, in part, is what he meant with the Orwellian phrase ‘truthful hyperbole.’ He has even described his own statements as mere ‘opening bids’ in a negotiation.”
I admit, I can’t stand watching Trump speak and I had no idea how he could appeal to so many people. As soon as he says anything “will be the best ever” I think “Liar!” Yet, to so many that watched him ramble on, he comes off as an honest everyman who is nothing like a typical politician. He actually seems kind and caring toward the audiences he speaks to, all his hostility directed toward “those others” (a group which changes depending who he’s speaking to). Read the article I linked above if you don’t understand why he got so many votes.
“Alas, too bad for all those well meaning Trump voters and everyone else. Trump is a fraud, a ripoff artist who leaves unpaid bills and collapsed casinos in his wake.”
I don’t think anyone knows for sure what Trump will be able to do regarding climate change, the EPA, the Endangered Species Act, NASA, and so on. Unlike Bush’s party, who realized there could be a huge backlash in the next election if he went too wild, I don’t think Trump cares. He literally could do anything. We know the people he’s surrounded himself with are horrific for our environment, economy, and racial equality. We know Trump’s stated plans are horrific. We also know we have one last chance to stop him before he gains more power.
Sign the petition asking for audits in states where Trump won by as little as 27,000 votes.
Ask others to sign.
If we fail to sway the votes of the electors, we must prepare for at least 4 years of fighting in the courts and on the streets. Compared to 2000 when Bush was elected, I see a lot more organized resistance. I also see a lot more possibility of Trump using legal and police intimidation to quell that resistance and not caring about the political consequences.
I know some people say this needed to happen so we can have another “blue wave” in the next election cycle. That’s a possibility, but I really do see Trump doing far more harm than Bush ever did. Harm that can’t be undone. More people will die and more species will go extinct because of Trump. We didn’t have mass protests against Bush. We didn’t have literal Nazis marching in Washington saying “Heil Bush.” This doesn’t feel like just another election cycle to me. Trump in power feels far more dangerous than Bush did.
Whatever happens, I know I’ll keep on fighting.
Again, check out CleanTechnica‘s Susan Kreamer for another list of things you can do to prevent Trump’s climate ruin.
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