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The Trump Administration is Far Worse for the Planet than Most Realize

Monday, November 21, 2016 19:23
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(Before It's News)

A Trump Climate Catastrophe

We need to take stock of where we are if we are to have any chance of getting to where we need to go. After years of slow but steady climate action, the U.S. now has a climate and environment destroying president and legislature. Although Hilary Clinton won the majority of votes, under the collegiate system –which was designed to protect slave owning states–Donald Trump won the election and will be president. Under Trump, Republicans will reverse everything that President Obama has achieved on energy and the environment.

Consider that President-elect Trump called global warming “bullshit” and a Chinese-invented hoax. Although this may seem like a surreal reality show it is actually a living nightmare, a cataclysm of America’s own making. Trump has promised to double-down on fossil fuels, kill climate action and withdraw from the Paris Agreement. He will gut the EPA and eliminate $100 billion in climate-related federal funding over the next eight years.

Far worse than you think

A Trump administration will open the climate floodgates and this is a grave threat to all life on Earth. Americans have voted for a President and a party that will augur mass starvation, coastal flooding, megadroughts, unprecedented super-storms, ocean acidification, widespread conflict, climate refugees and worse. The military and intelligence community recognize that climate change is a national security threat of epic proportions.

Many environmental groups are trying to offer a positive spin on the election of Trump. The Pollyanna perspective of many environmentalists may be due to the fact that they are suffering from their own brand of denial or it may be a pragmatic attempt to invite more financial support. Either way, this view is hopelessly disconnected from reality. They speak to the need for climate action, but they fail to mention that it has become almost impossible to achieve the required level of emissions reductions with Trump and the Republicans in control of the U.S. federal government. A Think Progress article by Joe Romm made the point succinctly with the following words:

“[T]he damage and delay that even a one-term President Trump could do will make the already difficult task of keeping total warming well below 2°C essentially impossible.”

The Trump administration’s disdain for science will end science-based policy decisions and contribute to a climate Kakistocracy. While defiance in the face of such a dire predicament is both noble and necessary, it is crucial that we understand what this administration will do so that we can develop cogent counter-strategies.

Fossil fuels

Trump has vowed to dig for coal, mine for oil and frack for gas. President Trump, along with a Republican legislature, has effectively given the keys of government to the fossil fuel industry. This means the end of government efforts to protect the environment and reign in climate change. As promised by Trump, he will support private sector energy infrastructure projects. This means that pipelines and coal export terminals will be built. Fossil fuel projects like the Dakota Access (DAPL) pipeline will be approved and the Keystone XL will be resurrected from the grave. Ongoing Republican support for fossil fuel subsidies and public money for related research and development will continue in earnest.

Emissions

Trump’s fossil fuel focused energy policy will increase U.S. emissions. Lux Research recently said, “estimated emissions would be 16 percent higher after two terms of Trump’s policies than they would be after two terms of Clinton’s, amounting to 3.4 billion tons greater emissions over the next eight years.” The only way that Trump will be able to reduce emissions is by causing a protracted global depression. Economists concede that this is very likely if he implements his economic plan. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman bluntly stated that Trump’s presidency heralds, “a global recession, with no end in sight.”

Key positions

Trump appointed a climate denier to a senior environmental position in his transition team and on January 20, 2017, climate deniers and fossil fuel advocates will take over all branches of government.

Myron Ebell will head the EPA, he has said global warming is “nothing to worry about“. He has also openly denied the veracity of peer reviewed climate science and he is expected to end the agency’s climate and environmental advocacy.

Oil billionaire Harold Hamm is Trump’s top pick to lead the Department of Energy and he will oversee the ramping-up of fossil fuel production. His other energy advisers include coal magnate Robert Murray and pro-fossil fuel Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota.

Sarah Palin may be tapped to be Secretary of the Interior. She infamously called fossil fuels, “things that God has dumped on this part of the Earth for mankind’s use.” Whoever gets that position is expected to open oceans and federal lands to various forms of extraction including fossil fuels. There are about 279 million acres of public land and water thought to hold oil and gas. The Trump transition team turned to Koch lobbyist Mike McKenna for advice on the Energy Department. Although the reality star calls himself an outsider, he is staffing his administration with lobbyists and industry insiders.

Regulations

Hamm has reportedly told Trump to “just scrap” Obama’s regulations. Polls suggest that Americans care about dirty air and water and, to a lesser extent, climate change. However, under a Trump administration, Americans may see the protections in place disappear.

The EPA, which was created by Richard Nixon, will be a shadow of its former self as its budget will be radically reduced and its powers scaled back. The Clean Power Plan will be replaced and in the interim, states are likely to be given waivers that will exempt them from having to comply. The Obama administration’s fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks are also likely to be revoked. Other regulations in jeopardy include rules pertaining to oil and gas drilling, methane, smog, mercury, coal pollution, pesticides, wildlife protections and oil spills.

Legal challenges

The climate-killing changes Trump has promised may take some time to implement. In the interim, we can expect legal challenges. However, the power of the highest court in the land will be stymied when Trump stacks the Supreme Court with anti-regulation, pro-fossil fuel conservative judges.

Cleantech

Billions of dollars in federal government support for clean energy will be withdrawn and the funding for the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program will be cut. Federal tax credits for solar and wind are unlikely to be renewed (the investment tax credit (ITC) for solar and the production tax credit (PTC) for wind.

Trump has also indicated that he will end America’s cleantech leadership in terms of both research and development. The absence of public money for research will undermine America’s ability to benefit from the golden opportunity associated with cleantech for many years to come.

Paris agreement

Global cooperation on climate action will face major opposition as the wealthiest nation in the world ignores the Paris Climate Agreement. Make no mistake about it, just as the US under President Obama was critical in securing international climate cooperation, opposition to climate action and doubling down on fossil fuels will undermine global climate efforts. We must remember that even if the US respected its commitments, we needed to see bigger emissions cuts to keep global temperature averages from rising above prescribed limits. Ratcheting up ambitions in 2020 seems very unlikely. Although states assembled at COP22 are trying to put a brave face on climate action, the Trump administration will have serious global repercussions.

Climate finance

Under Trump, the US will not contribute to global climate finance, meaning that poorer nations will be less likely to be able to afford the robust action that is needed. Trump will not provide aid for development related to climate change, this includes the UN’s green finance, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. He will also end adaptation and resilience grants and subsidies to support local government.

Federal Agencies

Efforts to make federal agencies use more renewable energy and be more energy efficient will also come to an end. So will the environmental oversight that now must be part of all new projects in federal agencies.

Democratic Senators

While the Republicans were obstructionist for their own partisan gains, Democrats in the Senate will be obstructionist on behalf of current and future generation. The only tool that Democrats have to oppose Republican action is the filibuster. A total of 60 Senators are required to end a filibuster. Only 41 of the 47 Democrats in the Senate are required to make a filibuster impervious. However, some think that Republicans will simply get rid of the filibuster as they need only 50 votes to do so. Now that Republican legislators are in control they could use their majority to support environmental measures that affect the federal budget into budget reconciliation bills. Such bills only need 51 votes to pass.

We the people

The repercussions of a Trump administration will be felt for decades after Americans come to their senses. Their misdirected rage and petulance has caused them to cut their nose to spite their face. The savage irony is the the world will suffer in the wake of their angry effort to send a message by giving more power to obstructionist Republicans, the ones responsible for Washington being broken in the first place.

Those who voted Republican will come to rue the day that they handed the most powerful office in the world to the least qualified candidate ever to win the presidency. We must not let them forget what they have done, we must ceaselessly remind them of the hell that they have unleashed on the world. This is not retribution, this is about accountability.

Although businesses and investors will counter the climate-killing efforts of the Trump administration, market forces alone will not be enough to keep us from surpassing tipping points from which we will not be able to recover.

Conclusion

China’s Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin reminded the new administration that climate negotiations began in the 1980s under popular Republican president Ronald Reagan. History will record that Republican president Donald Trump opened the door to catastrophic climate change when he slammed shut the window of opportunity for climate action in 2017.

This is a bitter pill to swallow but we must be fully aware of what we are up against if we hope to do what we can to counter this looming dystopia.


Richard Matthews is a consultant, eco-entrepreneur, green investor and author of numerous articles on sustainable positioning, eco-economics and enviro-politics. He is the owner of The Green Market Oracle, a leading sustainable business site and one of the Web’s most comprehensive resources on the business of the environment. Find The Green Market on Facebook and follow The Green Market’s twitter feed

Image credit: Mike Licht, courtesy Flickr

The post The Trump Administration is Far Worse for the Planet than Most Realize appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

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  • Under Trump, Republicans will reverse everything that President Obama has achieved on energy and the environment??
    Do you mean like these??
    7/19/12: The Amonix Solar: FAIL! – manufacturing plant in North Las Vegas, subsidized by more than $20 million in federal tax credits and grants given by Obama Administration, has closed its 214,000 square foot facility a year after it opened.

    Solar Trust of America: FAIL! – Filed Bankruptcy in Oakland, CA, April 3, 2012

    Bright Source: FAIL! – Bright Source warned Obama’s Energy Department officials in March 2011 that delays in approving a $1.6 billion U.S. loan guarantee would embarrass the White House and force the solar-energy company to close. Bright Source lost billions of dollars but is getting more money to keep trying. Can you say, “This isn’t working Mr. President?”

    Solyndra: FAIL! – Obama gave $500,000,000 (that’s a HALF BILLION!) in taxpayer money to Solyndra who shut its doors and laid off 1100 workers in August 2011 after billions in losses due to failure to make a solar product that works! Barack Obama was not vetted before being elected President and neither was Solyndra before Mr. Obama threw that taxpayer money down the drain of unproven technology.

    LSP Energy: FAIL! – LSPEnergy LP filed bankruptcy protection and a sale of its assets in Feb 2012

    Energy Conversion Devices: FAIL! – On February 14, 2012 Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. and its subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy

    Abound Solar: FAIL! – Abound Solar received a $400 million loan guarantee from Barack Obama then announced in June, 2012 that it would file for bankruptcy. Many of these failed corporations, such as Abound, donated MILLIONS and continue to donate to Barack Obama’s campaign. Can you say, “Democrat Slush Fund”? Yes this is illegal. But Democrats are being protected from being prosecuted, for now.

    SunPower: FAIL! – SunPower stopped producing solar cells in 2011 at near bankruptcy then restructured with the help of, get this, oil giant TOTAL, Inc. who owns 60% stake in SunPower. Irony? The company is still struggling.

    Beacon Power: FAIL! – Beacon Power Corp filed for bankruptcy protection in October, 2011 just a year after Obama approved a $43 million Government loan guarantee. They remain barely in business, still struggling to make energy that makes sense or that works at all.

    Ecotality: FAIL! – ECOtality, a San Francisco green-tech company that never earned any money and remains on the verge of bankruptcy after receiving roughly $115 million in two loan guarantees from President Obama, who wants to do some more of this kind of Democrat Slush Fund Guarantees after he is elected to a 2nd term.

    A123 Solar: FAIL! – A123 Solar received $279 million from taxpayers thanks to President Obama’s Department of Energy loan guarantees even after the Solyndra bankruptcy and is getting another $500M from Obama after a loss of $400M.

    UniSolar: FAIL! – Uni-Solar filed for Ch 11 bankruptcy in June 20, 2012 after laying off hundreds of workers. UniSolar received even more Obama money after showing now progress, no profits and is still failing… yet they still remain in business with Obama’s help.

    Azure Dynamics: FAIL! – Azure Dynamics filed for bankruptcy in June , 2012 wasting millions in Obama “Stimulus” money and received abatement on taxes owed and and several tax credits. Azure Dynamics LLC filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada and the US. Azure laid off 120 of its 160 employees in Oak Park; Boston; Vancouver, British Columbia; and the UK.

    Evergreen Solar: FAIL! – Evergreen Solar received $527 Million in Taxpayer money from Obama and filed bankruptcy in late 2011. Evergreen, which closed its taxpayer-supported Devens factory in March, 2011 cut more than 1800 jobs. Evergreen’s $450 million factory, turned out to be a colossal “waste” of taxpayer money.

    Ener1: FAIL! Ener1 Inc. received a $118 million U.S. Energy Department grant from President Obama to make electric-car batteries but filed for bankruptcy protection January 2012 after defaulting on bond debt.

    IS this what you mean?? the writer of the b4in drivel article is a brainless twat!

  • GLOBAL WARMING IS A HOAX.

    ALL DAMAGE DONE ON THIS EARTH HAS BEEN CREATED BY THE EVIL 1% WEALTHY CONGLOMERATES AS DICTATED TO GOVERNMENTS AND MILITARIES TO OBEY.

    YOU CAN BLAME THE RICH CONGLOMERATES FOR BINDING THE HANDS OF FREE ENTERPRISE TO CREATE….

    YOU CAN BLAME THE RICH CONGLOMERATES FOR PIERCING HOLES IN OUR STRASTOSPHERE CAUSING MORE INTENSE RADIATION.

    YOU CAN BLAME THE RICH CONGLOMERATES FOR DISRESPECTING THE PLANET WITH FACTORY WASTE AND ABUSE, POISIONING OUR WATERS, NUCLEAR WASTE, OIL SPILLS, CHEM TRAILS, MONSANTO, HAARP, WEATHER MODIFICATION, PLANTING BOMBS TO CREATE EARTHQUAKES, FRACKING, DEFORESTATION, KILLING OFF OF ANIMALS, VACCINATIONS, CREATING PLAGUES, AND THE LIST GOES ON.

    WE THE PEOPLE OF EARTH DID NOT…NOT…NOT CAUSE THIS EVIL MENACE. IF GOVERNMENT STOPS THEIR EVILS THE EARTH MIGHT HEAL, GOD WILLING, BUT IF THEY DONT STOP THE ABUSE THEY THEMSELVES CREATED THEN THERE IS NO HOPE.

    THE LIES SPEWED ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING IS AN EXCUSE TO TAX, CONTROL AND DEPRIVE PEOPLE. WHY CANT WE USE THE TESLA FREE ENERGY WHICH WAS CLEAN !!!!!! THAT WAS DENIED BECAUSE OF CONGLOMERATE GREED. THIS PLANET IS RULED BY GREEDY, SELFISH, EVIL LIARS.

  • Good science follows good research which some scientists have done. Those that have found that our temperatures here on Earth are dictated by the heat of the Sun, which IS NOT consistent. When the Sun is cooler the Earth is cooler, even inviting ice ages. When the Sun is hotter the Earth is hotter. That seems to be pretty elementary, Watson! Global warming was made up to create the Carbon Tax. It is also a convenient way to give people yet another thing to have fear about. That is what the government wants, fear begetting fear. Thanks but no thanks, I will take the word of good science and good research!!!!!!!!!!

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