Letter from America 10: Climate dump!
Want a SHORT easy route to having an opinion on Trump’s effect on Climate Change? Here is a summary for your convenience to give you the essential information for that next dinner party or coffee-break conversation.
In 2009 BO was a signatory on a letter to Obama emphasising the importance of tackling Climate Change. In 2016 Mr Flipflop, (the Big Orange) desperate to rule the world, turned to his ill-informed fans and promised to cancel all contributions to all UN programs to tackle global warming; to withdraw from the Paris Agreement; to revive the fortunes of the ailing coal mining and power generating industry; and to dismantle the EPA – the Environment Protection Agency, originally believe it or not, set up by Richard Nixon, the previous worst Republican President of all time.
So to what extent is the Big Orange a threat to the safe existence of mankind on the planet? BBC Radio 4, in the program Costing the Earth today tackled this question. For more detail than I’m giving you, go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006r4wn
One by one. He will need the support of Congress for most of these proposals to succeed. The majority of Trump supporters accept the phenomenon of Climate Change, though many do not agree that it is man-made. This means that many Rep congressmen and women may not support attempts to disengage from UN programs – however, the consensus amongst interviewees was that this could be the easiest promise for him to achieve. A gradual withdrawal of funds could hit international initiatives badly.
However, we need to accept that China has now become one of the most committed countries to tackling climate change. They have thoroughly analysed the science and concluded that global warming is a huge challenge, and largely caused by dirty Chinese industries. We can finally welcome the Chinese as major allies in the desperate battle to come – after all, Shanghai is at sea level and will be one of their first cities to be abandoned in the worst-case scenario.
India too is beginning to realise the danger. They have reluctantly accepted the need for action, whether through the UN, or the Paris agreement. Russia remains a big question- time will tell whether they will be enthusiastic in joining the rest of the world.
Conclusion: while DT can withdraw some funding from UN programmes, other countries will probably make up the shortfalls.
So can BO withdraw the US from the Paris agreement? President Obama worked very hard on getting international consensus and agreement over a number of years and finally in April a maximum 2 degree limit to temperature rise was agreed between the nations. They committed to “take ambitious efforts to combat climate change and its effects”. I think we can be certain that one of DT’s main objections to the agreement is that it is part of the Obama legacy – something he is determined to destroy.
Conclusion: it would take about 3 years to withdraw completely from the agreement. However, BO can squeeze the US contributions to the funding of initiatives under the agreement in the meanwhile. Again, other countries are likely to step in. International relations will certainly be soured by an attempt to withdraw.
King Coal. Under Obama, coal-generated power fell from 52 percent to 29 percent. 411 coal-fired power stations have closed. Employment fell proportionately. This is not entirely due to the President putting pressure through legislation on that industry- the main cause is quite simply market forces. Competition from renewables – wind sun etc – is not the main factor. Fracking and shale gas is. This form of energy is also a fossil fuel, and hugely damaging to the environment.
Conclusion: however much money is poured into the coal industry it will never recover to pre-Obama levels. There is a great deal of support for renewables, especially at State level if not at Federal level. The consumer is opting more-and more for clean energy. So while carbon emissions will continue to be high from fossil fuels, the outlook is not wholly gloomy.
Dismantling the EPA will not be easy. According to some commentators the Agency is far too embedded into the fabric of state and federal government to be easily unpacked. It could take years.
General conclusion: yes the new President is certainly a threat to our continued environmental safety and security on our fragile planet. However, should he serve only one term the damage won’t be catastrophic. If he does not change his opinions and serves two terms, well, I advise a Space Ark. And if he declares himself President for Life, Armageddon!
(Keep an eye on the way he changes direction with the wind. Excuse pun. It is possible he will shift position on this, as he has just done with the Hilary prosecution)
Hey! Btw – do you know any nice Trump supporters or Brexiters? Frankly I do, but my definition of “nice” has changed. Many of them are nice to dogs. Children. Old ladies. Some even give to charities. Some are nice to people of other races. Some are relatively decent to LGBT + . Although not to immigrants on the whole. But “some” is very different to “most”.