Democratic presidential hopefuls have made a lot of noise about combating climate change. The Current Occupant has noticed and decided to join the chorus. On July 8, he assembled his EPA chief and head of the Interior Department to declaim at length about how his administration is protecting the environment. In his remarks, he called the United States a world leader when it comes to environmental issues, a rather startling claim for a nation that has reneged on the commitments it made to the world community in Paris in 2015.
During his speech, he said he had urged his deputies to tackle environmental challenges “so we can provide the highest quality of life to all Americans. We want the cleanest air, we want crystal clear water. And that’s what we’re doing. These are incredible goals that everyone in this country can rally behind, and they are rallying behind.”
As usual, the alleged president offered no evidence to back up his claims. In fact, a report by the Washington Post says the government’s own data suggests US air quality is worsening and its overall greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise. The nation’s carbon dioxide emissions rose more than 3% last year, the biggest increase since 2010.
“Donald Trump lecturing the world about America’s environmental leadership is completely at odds with reality,” Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, told the Post in a statement. “This administration has never met an environmental protection it wasn’t eager to overturn.”
A report in March by the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center at the New York University School of Law said the Trump administration had “set its sights on watering down or outright repealing a half-dozen health and environmental rules critical to the health and welfare of all Americans as well as the planet.”
Offering no support for his arguments, EPA chief Andrew Wheeler made this vapid claim: “I do believe that our air is cleaner and our water is cleaner than other countries around the world. And I think the data supports that.”
The Health Effects Institute State of Global Air 2019 report shows the US ranks 123rd out of 195 nations when it comes to smog, or ozone pollution. Dan Greenbaum, the institute’s president, said in an interview that vehicle travel, electricity use, and industrial activity all contribute to America’s high ozone levels.
Janice Nolen of the American Lung Association, said in a recent interview that climate change is also harming air quality. That’s because higher atmospheric temperatures contribute to smog formation and the uptick in wildfires across the West are pouring more soot into the air.
“Climate change has an enormous impact on human health,” Nolen said. “It increases the risk of wildfires, ozone is going to be higher and worse, and ozone is appearing in places where it hadn’t before. In addition to that, the heat itself is a risk to human health.” She went on to say that Trump is scaling back the very policies aimed at curbing emissions linked to global warming.
Trump’s Five Worst Environmental Policies
The Guardian has made a list of Trump’s five worst environmental policies, all of which deserve a special place on the nation’s Wall Of Shame. They are:
- Departure from the Paris climate agreement
- Shrinking national monuments and animal protections
- Rollback of the Clean Power Plan
- Cuts to clean water protections
- Roll back of methane rules
Also in the offing is the rollback of vehicle emissions standards expected to be announced shortly. Everything the current administration has done is covered under the pretext that addressing climate change is too expensive and too burdensome for the business community. Apparently no one at the federal level or in the corporate world understands that dead people don’t consume products, which will likely put a substantial crimp in America’s GDP if climate change is not addressed with the seriousness it deserves.
Sanders & AOC Get Real
Bernie Sanders has introduced a bill in the Senate that would designate climate change as an actual emergency. A spokesperson for Sanders tells The Guardian, “President Trump has routinely declared phony national emergencies to advance his deeply unpopular agenda, like selling Saudi Arabia bombs that Congress had blocked. On the existential threat of climate change, Trump insists on calling it a hoax. Senator Sanders is proud to partner with his House colleagues to challenge this absurdity and have Congress declare what we all know — we are facing a climate emergency that requires a massive and immediate federal mobilization.”
Similar legislation is being introduced in the House by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Earl Blumenauer 0f Oregon. Blumenauer says he decided to introduce the measure after the putative president declared his phony baloney national emergency to extort funds from Congress for his wall along the southern border of the United States.
As The Guardian reports, even if passed, the bills would be symbolic only, but climate activists say similar legislative devices in Canada and the United Kingdom have served to highlight the hypocrisy of government positions that pay lip service to the threat of an overheating planet while pursuing policies that exacerbate the situation.
What Can You Do?
What can any of us do to force the United States to address the threat of climate change in a rational fashion? There are two activities available to everyone that come to mind.
- Join the international climate strike being organized by 350.org and other activist groups on September 20. “People all over the world will use their power to stop ‘business as usual’ in the face of the climate emergency. We will join young people in the streets to demand an end to the age of fossil fuels and emergency action to avoid climate breakdown.”
- Help register people to vote. Contact Common Cause or any of the 7 other voter registration groups listed by Bustle.com, including the League of Women Voters and the American Civil Liberties Union.
It will take every concerned voter turning out next election day to undo the horrific damage done to the environment by Donald Trump and his fossil fuel industry lackeys. It’s time for us all to stand up for America and make our voices heard.