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Denial Is More Than a Shrinking River in Egypt: On Trump and the Environment

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The Obama administration conducted an extensive study, its National Climate Assessment, which found conclusively that our global climate is, in fact, changing, and this is due primarily to human activity, in particular, to the burning of fossil fuels.

The Assessment investigated approximately 12,000 professional scientific journal papers on the topic of global climate change, and it discovered that in the articles expressing a position on global warming, fully 97% authenticated both the reality of global warming and the certainty that humans are the cause.

Additional studies report that we will be experiencing more category 4 and 5 hurricanes, and the beginning of the depletion and ultimate total collapse of glaciers in Antarctica, which can continue to raise worldwide sea levels an additional 4 feet. This depletion is now irreversible.

What seems obvious to the scientific community seems like science fiction to many key politicians, including Donald Trump and members of his administration. Trump chose to lead the Department of Energy former Texas Governor, Rick Perry, who admitted he was unaware of the function of the department he was to administer, and who, in his infamous “oops” moment in his run for the presidency in 2012, actually forgot that this was one of the three federal agencies he intended to eliminate.

To head the Environmental Protection Agency, Trump picked Scott Pruitt who contradicted reliable scientific evidence when he stated he doubts that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor of climate change:

“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s [CO2] a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”

This aligns with Trump’s statement on the campaign trail calling climate change “a hoax” perpetrated by the Chinese, even though the EPA’s conclusion on its website states, “Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change.”

In his brief time in office, Trump has declared war on the environment by proposing a substantial budgetary reduction of an estimated 24% and a staff cut of 20% to the EPA, consideration of lower automobile emission and fuel efficiency standards, relaxation of prohibitions against dumping toxins like coal ash into streams and rivers, reinstatement of the potentially environmentally damaging Dakota Access and Keystone oil pipelines, and increased coal mining, natural gas, crude and scale oil drilling.

In his recent wide-ranging executive order, he further reversed Obama-era environmental protections by reducing governmental regulations on the coal and oil industries that were intended to curb greenhouse gases. Specifically, Trump repealed Obama’s moratorium on coal mining on federal lands and on coal-fueled power plants, and advised federal agencies to “identify all regulations, all rules, all policies…that serve as obstacles and impediments to American energy independence.”

As notable individuals and groups have denied the Nazi extermination of millions and millions of Jews during the Holocaust against mountains or irrefutable evidence to the contrary, the climate deniers, including Donald Trump and significant numbers of his Grand? Old Party are perpetrating a delusional fraud against volumes of irrefutable evidence to the contrary that if allowed to continue, will end in the extermination of all life on this planet.

For a party claiming to stand as “pro-family,” what kind of legacy and what kind or future are they really bequeathing to future generations? For a party that claims to promote political conservatism and “traditional values,” what is more traditional and valuable than conserving and thus sustaining the Earth’s resources responsibly and equitably?

While differing marginally on specific issues, many Republicans march in lock-step to the drummer of conservative political and corporate dogma centering on a market-driven approach to economic and social policy, including such tenets as reducing the size of the national government and granting more control to state and local governments; severely reducing or ending governmental regulation over the private sector; privatizing governmental services, industries, and institutions including education, health care, and social welfare; permanently incorporating across-the-board non-progressive marginal federal and state tax rates; and possibly most importantly, advancing market driven and unfettered “free market” economics.

But really, though, how “free” are we now as mining, oil, and lumber companies lobby to exploit the land, and as legislators grant corporations enormous tax breaks and subsidies?

How “free” will we be if conservative Republicans succeed in abolishing the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Protection Agency, the US Department of Education, the US Department of Commerce, and other governmental agencies?

How “free” will we be if conservative Republicans succeed in the US Congress with their threats to privatize our national parks, and to loosen environmental and consumer protections of all kinds?

In truth, the conservative Republican battle cry, seemingly coined by Sarah Palin, of “drill baby drill,” unfortunately is what Trump is pushing, and ironically, as the Obama administration before him forwarded, resulting in significantly more domestic oil and gas, through “fracking,” production than under the George W. Bush administration.

This, however, is simply unsustainable since, in the words of President Obama in 2012: “But you and I both know that with only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices – not when we consume 20% of the world’s oil.”

How many more British Petroleum and Exxon Valdez oil spills, polluted and poisoned waterways and skies, dead lakes, clear cut forests, mine disasters, mutilated and scorched Earth, nuclear power plant accidents and meltdowns, toxic dumps and landfills, trash littered landscapes, extinct animal and plant species, encroachments on land masses by increasingly raising oceans and seas, and how many more unprecedented global climatic fluctuations will it take for the anti-science Republican party to put the health of the planet and by extension the health of all Earth’s inhabitants on the front burner, if you will, of policy priorities over the unquenchable lust for profits by corporate executives?

A non-regulated privatized so-called “free-market” economic system lacking in environmental protections for our air, our water, our climate, our land, and our animals is tantamount to a social system absent of civil and human rights protections for our people.

Warren J. Blumenfeld is associate professor in the School of Education at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense).

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

March 29th, 2017 at 10:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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