Trump War On Climate Science Will Cost American Lives

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There is no way to sugar coat this. Because of the policies of the Trump maladministration, Americans will have more health issues and die sooner. What is truly amazing is the number of people who are perfectly okay with killing their friends and family members — and themselves — with fossil fuel pollution if it means they gain political power.

fossil fuels and climate change

You think humanity is going to pull together to deal effectively with the effects of a warming planet? Not gonna happen. We would rather die than cooperate with “those people.” The other is scarier than extinction, which is why soon we will all be extinct along with most of the other species that currently populate the Earth.

According to the New York Times, the federal government is preparing to roll back exhaust emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks this summer at the same time it pulls the plug on smokestack emissions from fossil fuel powered electrical generating plants.

That’s bad, but it’s not the worst of it. On orders from the White House, James Reilly, a former astronaut and petroleum geologist who now heads the US Geological Survey, has ordered that scientific assessments produced by his agency only use computer generated climate models that project the impact of climate change through 2040, rather than through the end of the century as had been done previously.

In an email to the New York Times, James Hewitt, a spokesman for the Environmental Protection Agency, defended the proposed changes. “The previous use of inaccurate modeling that focuses on worst-case emissions scenarios, that does not reflect real-world conditions, needs to be thoroughly re-examined and tested if such information is going to serve as the scientific foundation of nationwide decision-making now and in the future.”

What does “worst case emissions scenario” mean? Quite simply it means continuing to extract every available molecule of fossil fuel and burning it to keep the global economy — and the profits derived from it — ramping up quarter after quarter as if there is not other purpose to life than fattening the already overstuffed wallets of corporate executives. No wonder people like CleanTechnica’s Carolyn Fortuna argue that only a fundamental redesign of capitalism can prevent a global climate catastrophe.

Scientists say limiting assessments to before 2040 would paint a misleading picture because the biggest effects from ongoing emissions won’t be felt until after that date. Their models show the planet will most likely warm at about the same rate through about 2050. But from that point forward until the end of the century, the rate of warming differs significantly depending on whether there is an increase or a decrease in carbon emissions.

“What we have here is a pretty blatant attempt to politicize the science — to push the science in a direction that’s consistent with their politics,” said Philip B. Duffy, the president of the Woods Hole Research Center, who served on a National Academy of Sciences panel that reviewed the government’s most recent National Climate Assessment. “It reminds me of the Soviet Union.”

And that’s the point. The US government no longer represents the people of the United States. It represents reclusive right wing tech billionaires like Robert and Rebekah Mercer, Carl Icahn, the New York investor who owns oil refineries, and the oil-and-gas billionaire Harold Hamm. Both Icahn and Hamm have pushed Trump to deregulate the energy industry so they can make more money from killing people.

Now this worst of all possible administrations is busy putting together a new “science panel” led by renegade Princeton physicist William Happer, who compares carbon emissions to the Jews under Hitler. “The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler,” he says. The objective is to influence the next National Climate Assessment, due out in 2022, so the scariest parts of the most recent Assessment are buried.

“They’ve started talking about how they can produce a report that doesn’t lead to some silly alarmist predictions about the future,” said Myron Ebell, the screaming jackass who has spent his entire career sucking on the Koch Brothers teat. He currently heads the energy program at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a captive organization of Koch Industries and headed the part of the Trump transition team that dealt with staffing the EPA. He’s the guy who put the despicable Scott Pruitt in charge of the agency, which should tell you all you need to know about his mania to please his political bosses.

The impetus for this idiocy is none other than John Bolton, the confirmed lunatic and draft dodger who has been trying to send others people’s children off to be maimed and killed in foreign wars for the past 40 years. He is currently pushing as hard as possible for US military involvement in North Korea and Iran when he is not advocating for William Happer to be the head climate denier for America. Bolton has been supported financially by the Mercers.

Cooking the books is a tactic used by totalitarian governments throughout history to alter the facts to fit a political narrative. Josef Stalin killed about 6 million of his own people. How many Americans will Trump and his henchmen kill because of their war on climate science?

Trump’s actions are making the United States a pariah nation despised by its peers. Climate scientists have given up on the White House being anything but on outlier in policy but they worry about the loss of the government as a source for reliable climate research.

“It is very unfortunate and potentially even quite damaging that the Trump administration behaves this way,” says Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “There is this arrogance and disrespect for scientific advancement — this very demoralizing lack of respect for your own experts and agencies.”

Bill Nye The Science Guy has had a bellyful of Trump and his antics. Earlier this month, he appeared on John Oliver with some choice words for climate deniers.

Climate Strike September 20

What can be done? PROTEST!!!! Bill McKibben and a group of friends are planning a global day of protest on September 20 on the theory that governments cannot ignore the will of the people. (History has many examples of governments doing precisely that, however.) Here’s the contents of the letter he, Naomi Klein, and dozens of other prominent climate activists created.

“On 20 September, at the request of the young people who have been staging school strikes around the world, we’re walking out of our workplaces and homes to spend the day demanding action on the climate crisis, the greatest existential threat that all of us face. It’s a one-day climate strike, if you will – and it will not be the last. This is going to be the beginning of a week of action all over the world. And we hope to make it a turning point in history.

“We hope others will join us: that people will leave their offices, their farms, their factories; that candidates will step off the campaign trail and football stars will leave the pitch; that movie actors will scrub off their makeup and teachers lay down their chalk; that cooks will close their restaurants and bring meals to protests; that pensioners too will break their daily routines and join together in sending the one message our leaders must hear: day by day, a business as usual approach is destroying the chance for a healthy, safe future on our planet.

“We are well aware that, by itself, this strike and a week of international climate action won’t change the course of events. The good news is that we have the technologies we need – the price of a solar panel has plunged 90% in the past decade. And we know the policies to make them work: all across the planet some version of a Green New Deal has been proposed, laws that would speedily replace fossil fuels with the power of sun and wind, along the way providing good jobs and stabilizing strong local economies. We salute the people – many of them young – working hard to pass those measures against the entrenched opposition of the fossil fuel industry.

“The September day of global action is designed to support those people. We hope all kinds of environmental, public health, social justice and development groups will join in, but our greatest hope is simply to show that those working on this crisis have the backing of millions of human beings who harbor a growing dread about our environmental plight but who have so far stayed mostly on the sidelines. It may take a few attempts to get those kind of numbers in the streets, but we don’t have too long: our window for effective climate action is closing fast.

We know not everyone can join us. On a grossly unequal planet, some people literally can’t do without a single day’s pay, or they work for bosses who would fire them if they dared try. And some jobs simply can’t stop: emergency room doctors should keep at their tasks. But many of us can put off for 24 hours our usual day to day routine, confident it will be there when we return. We hope some people will spend the day in protest: against new pipelines, or the banks that fund them; against the oil companies and the politicians that spread their lies. We hope others will spend the day putting insulation in the walls of their neighbours’ homes, or building cycle paths. We hope everyone will take at least a few minutes in a city park or a farm field or on the roof of their apartment to simply soak in the beauty of the world it’s our privilege to protect.

“Obviously this is a lot to ask. A day in the life of the world is a big deal, and all of us are used to our routines. But we’re not comfortable letting schoolchildren carry all the weight here – they need our backing. And disrupting our normal lives seems key – it’s normal life that is doing us in, the fact that we rise each morning and do pretty much the same things we did the day before, even amid an unfolding crisis.

“We are the people who happen to be alive at the moment when our choices will determine the future for tens of thousands of years: how high the seas will rise, how far the deserts will spread, how fast the forests will burn. Part of our work must be to protect that future.”

Margaret Atwood, Geneviève Azam, Tom Ballard, Fadel Barro, Nnimmo Bassey, May Boeve, Patrick Bond, Mike Brune, Nicola Bullard, Sharan Burrow, Valérie Cabanes, Rachel Carmona, Dr Craig Challen, Noam Chomsky, Maxime Combes, Thomas Coutrot, Cyril Dion, Tasneem Essop, Christiana Figueres, Prof Tim Flannery, Nancy Fraser, KC Golden, Tom BK Goldtooth, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dr John Hewson, John Holloway, Prof Lesley Hughes, Tomás Insua, Satvir Kaur, Barbara Kingsolver, Winona LaDuke, Jenni Laiti, Bruno Latour, Annie Leonard, Michael Mann, Gina McCarthy, Heather McGhee, Luca Mercalli, Moema Miranda, Jennifer Morgan, Tadzio Müller, Kumi Naidoo, Mohamed Nasheed, Carlo Petrini, Dr Anne Poelina, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Sarsgaard, Dr Vandana Shiva, Rebecca Solnit, Gus Speth, Prof Will Steffen, Tom Steyer, Chris Taylor, Terry Tempest-Williams, Aurélie Trouvé, Farhana Yamin, Lennox Yearwood are signatories to this article.

Mark your calendars. Join us and the CleanTechinca community on September 20 and make your voices heard.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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