Friday, June 02, 2017

Did Señor Trumpanzee's Climate Speech Signal The End Of The American Century?


Most Americans-- by far-- disagree with corporate-financed Republican Climate Change denialism. In fact, there's not one state-- not even the most backward, prescription drug-addled Trumpist hellhole-- where there's not a majority of Americans who disagree with Trump on Climate Change.
In a nationally representative survey conducted after the election, we found that seven in ten registered voters (69%) say the U.S. should participate in the COP21 agreement, compared with only 13% who say the U.S. should not. Majorities of Democrats (86%) and Independents (61%), and half of Republicans (51%) say the U.S. should participate (including 73% of moderate/liberal Republicans). Only conservative Republicans are split, with marginally more saying the U.S. should participate (40%) than saying we should not participate (34%).
But fascist corporate hacks Scott Pruitt and Steve Bannon tricked the feebleminded and senile Trump into ignoring the sane advice he was getting from other in his Regime and from business leaders. Politico: "Steve Bannon and Scott Pruitt have sought to outsmart the administration’s pro-Paris group of advisers, including Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who were hoping the president could be swayed by a global swell of support for the deal from major corporations, U.S. allies, Al Gore and even the pope."

An L.A. Times editorial minutes after Trump's dishonest and blatantly manipulative speech emphasized a statement by President Obama asserting that "The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created. But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got."
Trump lashed out at foreign leaders in his statement, saying they supported the agreement because it was a “massive redistribution of United States wealth to other countries.”

The climate deal was “less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States,” he said, adding that “we don't want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore, and they won't be.”

Trump said the accord would allow China, India and other major polluters to continue emitting greenhouse gases while imposing unfair burdens on the U.S., and would cost the U.S. millions of jobs.

Supporters of the agreement, which include many Republican business leaders as well as environmental activists, say just the opposite-- that steps to combat global warming would help the U.S. economy by building up new industries, especially solar and wind power.

The agreement, which almost every country in the world has joined, is designed to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in order to keep temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels. That’s the point at which climate scientists warn the impact of climate change worldwide would be severe.
Instead of analyzing the litany of Trump's moronic lies layered throughout his speech the fools at PolitiFact basically just had this anodyne comment: "The bottom line is that, even though it isn't immediate, he has set in motion the United States' exit from the Paris agreement, and he also pledged to stop funding U.N. global warming efforts, fulfilling both parts of his campaign promise. We rate it a Promise Kept." Jonathan Chait had a far savvier approach:
The question is, what purpose does this serve? What economic or philosophical policy goal is advanced? The answer is that it satisfies the same elemental partisan tribalism that has allowed Trump to hold together his party.

It is worth recalling the principal argument that Republicans made against the Paris agreement from the outset was that it would have no effect on developing countries like India and China. “And you know what passing those laws would have-- what impact it would have on the environment?” insisted Marco Rubio in 2016. “Zero, because China is still going to be polluting and India is still going to be polluting at historic levels … these other countries like India and China are more than making up in carbon emissions for whatever we could possibly cut.”

Why was the right so certain that India and China would continue to ramp up their carbon emissions regardless of what they said in Paris? Because, they insisted, dirty energy was and would remain the best path for them to raise their standard of living, which was and is well below American levels. National Review editor Rich Lowry, writing in December 2015, dismissed plans to steer the developing world onto a cleaner energy path as “a naive belief in the power of global shame over the sheer economic interest of developing countries in getting rich (and lifting countless millions out of poverty) through exploiting cheap energy-- you know, the way Western countries have done for a couple of centuries.”

But this analysis has proven incontrovertibly false. Rather than lagging behind their promised targets, India and China are actually surpassing them. According to Climate Action Tracker, India, which had promised to reduce the emissions intensity of its economy by 33–35 percent by 2030, is now on track to reduce it by 42–45 percent by that date. China promised its total emissions would peak by 2030-- an ambitious goal for a rapidly industrializing economy. It is running at least a decade ahead of that goal.

Why are these countries blowing past their targets? Because the cost of zero-emissions energy sources is plunging. In India, solar energy not only costs less than energy from new coal plants, it costs less than energy from existing coal plants.

The virtuous cycle of political will and innovation is proving more potent than expected. As more governments bind themselves to emissions reductions, business creates the technology to meet those goals, which brings down the cost of reducing emissions, which in turn emboldens governments to raise their ambitions further still. The factual predicate upon which the American right based its opposition to Paris has melted away beneath its feet.

Likewise, the scientific basis for the right’s skepticism of the theory of anthropogenic global warming has collapsed. Conservatives used to dismiss the scientific consensus on heat-trapping gases on account of the fact that 1998 saw an anomalously big spike in global temperatures in the midst of an overall warming trend. For years, conservatives would triumphantly point out that there had been no warming since 1998, as if the data from this one year nullified decades’ worth of rising temperatures. In the meantime, 2014, and every year since then, has since exceeded the 1998 record, rendering the old, misleading talking point outright false. But no rethinking has followed on the right. As justifications for inaction are falsified, new ones take their place, while the conclusion remains the same.

Liberals used to accuse conservative climate science skeptics of merely shilling for the fossil-fuel industry. Certainly the owners of dirty energy reserves have invested in conservative politics with the aim of protecting their assets, and those investments have borne some fruit. (Trump’s EPA director has in the past literally outsourced his job to oil firms.) But there is far more at work in conservative opposition to decarbonization than the hidden hand of oil and coal; indeed, many fossil-fuel companies prefer the predictability of the Paris agreement to policy that jerks back and forth every time the presidency changes hands between the parties.

The dominant spirit of conservative thought-- or, more precisely, verbal gestures that seek to resemble thought-- is not even skepticism but a trolling impulse. The aim is not so much to reason toward a policy conservatives would favor as to pierce the liberal claim to the moral high ground.

...Conservatives on the whole devoted less attention to pondering the risks Trump might pose to their own country and party than enjoying the liberal tears.

“Everybody who hates Trump wants him to stay in Paris,” argues conservative activist Grover Norquist. “Everybody who respects him, trusts him, voted for him, wishes for him to succeed, wants him to pull out.” Here is an argument that approaches, even if it does not fully reach, complete self-awareness: The Paris climate agreement is bad because it is supported by people who oppose Trump. Therefore, the opposing position is the correct one.

If the liberal global elites have established a policy architecture to minimize the threat of climate change, weakening that policy architecture is its own reward. There is not much more to it than that.
Will those liberal tears the Republicans are enjoying turn to action at the ballot box? First test will be in 18 days when voters in the suburbs north of Atlanta (GA-06) chose between Climate Change denier and Trumpist loon Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff. Handel was in hiding from the media yesterday but Ossoff said he "agree[s] with our military, our intelligence community, and peer-reviewed science that climate change is a major threat to our prosperity and our security, and if we walk away from this historic agreement now, history will condemn us."

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) told his supporters after the speech that "Trump has put ideology and political expediency ahead of making the right decision for our country and the world. And once again, he's making choices that not only undermine American values-- but break the promises that he made in the campaign... a stunning retreat that will have enormous consequences."
It undermines our national security. As the planet heats up, we'll see more refugees fleeing drought and hurricanes. China will step into a leading role on clean energy. And the world will watch America walk away from the world stage, harming our ability to lead in other areas.

It hurts our economic security. We need to face reality and build a clean energy economy now. We need to invest in renewable energy, battery technology, electric vehicles, and so much more. Fighting climate disruption will create high-wage jobs and secure our future.

It will deeply damage our beautiful blue-green planet. Climate disruption is driving raging wildfires, ocean acidification, and massive loss of species. This is the only planet we have, and we are putting it at grave risk.

Goal Thermometer Climate disruption-- driven by pollution caused by humans-- is a critical threat to humanity. But Donald Trump's action today demonstrates that he'd rather hide under his desk than tackle tough problems directly.

More than ever, it's clear that we need new leadership in Washington DC. If the president won't lead on the climate crisis, we need a Congress that will.
Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is on the same page: "By unilaterally pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accord, President Trump is setting our planet on a catastrophic course. This decision, based on falsehoods and the denial of climate change, would be a complete disaster for our cities, Washington state, our country and the entire world. It’s not a hoax-- the science is clear on climate change. It is our moral responsibility to transition our economy from fossil fuels to clean energy while ensuring that we sustain and create retraining programs, apprenticeships and good paying jobs for workers. We must also aim to collaborate with other nations in drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In conjunction with experts and activists in the 7th District who are sounding the alarm, I will continue to resist an agenda that threatens vulnerable communities and the futures of our children."

Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) is likely to be the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate seat held by Trumpist stooge Dean Heller. Kihuen didn't hold back yesterday: "Trump’s reckless decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement will be viewed in the future as one of the most reprehensible actions by this Administration. Instead of listening to a handful of right-wing ideologues, President Trump should be listening to business leaders, scientists, and the majority of Americans who support this historic agreement. Now is not the time for America to be stepping away from our leadership role on the world stage, especially when it comes to the future of the planet."

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club released the following statement:
Generations from now, Americans will look back at Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement as one of the most ignorant and dangerous actions ever taken by any President. Trump’s decision to ignore the vast majority of the American public and the scientific community will harm our country, costing us lives, jobs and our role as a world leader. Trump has isolated our country on the world stage, ceding our leadership position and our economic advantage on clean energy to India and China, and justifying it all by chanting a slogan from a baseball hat.

It's hard to overstate the negative consequences at home and abroad of this foolish, self-destructive move that will only help boost profits for few of the worst polluters while risking the health of our families and communities. Future scholars will search in vain to find a President with this level of disdain for reality and the future of humanity.

Effective leaders are driving state and local action in the United States, moving strongly forward as coal plants across the country continue to retire, dirty fossil fuel infrastructure investments falter, and innovative policies drive clean energy jobs like solar and wind to profound new heights. With our allies, Sierra Club members and supporters have helped retire more than 250 polluting coal plants in recent years, and also ensured that more than 25 American cities, from Atlanta, Georgia to San Diego, California, have committed to getting 100 percent of their energy from clean, renewable sources by 2030.

American climate advocates have a message for the world: we aren’t waiting around for Donald Trump to pull his head out of the sand, and neither should you. The Paris Agreement is the collective achievement of leaders around the world, and it cannot and will not be derailed by the ignorance of one man whose term of office is highly uncertain.

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At 6:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just another step on our loooooong descending staircase into "bolivian". This started no later than November of 1980 (Reagan) but one might argue that it started in 1968 when AMERICAN VOTERS elected a serial liar, mentally ill and thoroughly despicable Nixon.

anecdotal sidelight: After Nixon retired in shame, the venerable Helen Thomas was asked (wrt Watergate) "when did you first realize that Nixon was lying?". Her response: "1949".

It's as simple to diagnose as this: When an electorate is as ignorant, evil and gawdawful stupid as ours, a democratically elected government can never be any good.

This is another symptom of the malignancies, both self-inflicted and spread by corporate greed and hate, of ignorance, religious delusion, xenophobia and stupidity.

The next R admin will be worse. A D admin may appear in the interim, but it won't fix anything and, like Clinton and obamanation, will simply tread water socially while transferring capital from the bottom to the top. White collar criminals will be sanctified. Wars will continue. people will be deprived of sustenance so that the rich get richer.

This is the truth that idiot voters refuse to see through their hatreds and delusions. Better is eschewed in favor of slightly less worse. Those who want better are reviled.

The end of America (period), not just the end of the American century, started no later than 1980. AmericANS are the disease and there is no cure.

At 7:32 AM, Blogger Thomas Ten Bears said...

Historians, if there is a history, will record the appointment by an ideologically stacked court of non-elected activist judges of the AWOL from the National Guard while I and mine were pulling three and five days patrols in-country scion of a Hitler financing old school Robber Baron family with limited education, little discernable intellegence and no practical experience to the highest office of the land as The End of "America".

We're where we are on momentum.

That is running out.

At 7:57 AM, Blogger U.S. Citizen said...

It's good to see that China and India are reducing their emissions since it shows the agreement is doing some good. Especially, since the accords are much ado about nothing and too little, too late. Once again, as with the ACA, we are in a position of defending something not too good but better than the alternatives that are so much worse.

We should remain in the accords but realize its limitations. We should also remember that even if we do, Pruitt's policies will eliminate any real addressing of the climate emergency.

At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the American decline into the status of Banana Republic began in 1940 when FDR entrusted a certain Major Eisenhower with igniting the fires under American industry to get the war machine started. Many of these industrialists had participated in the attempted coup in 1934, and eagerly seized the opportunity to try again.

It was these same industrialists who pushed for war with the Soviet Union beginning in 1944. It took a while, but by 1947 the goal was realized. And, due to the constant threat that the Soviets presented to corporatist profits, it wasn't too costly -I mean, difficult- to get the Congress to see things their way. Many a profitable boondoggle was thus funded out of the pockets of the American taxpayers in an effort to contain a Soviet hegemony which could never directly threaten dominance over the US.

Now that Trump has abandoned the leadership of the world, we Americans might actually find a way for our society to return to sanity.

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

No one "tricked Trump." Do NOT blame anyone but Herr Trump! He did just what he wanted to do, flip the bird to the world.

At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:12, no way. We are here because of systemic INsanity.

I guess we all have an idea of when we crossed the threshold... I'm fascinated at how far back some have gone.

I measure by the stupidity of the electorate rather than the deeds of those corrupt and nefarious already empowered.

The theory of our democracy is that when those we empower PROVE to be pure evil, we can replace them with BETTER (not less worse).

But our electorate has become so totally fucking stupid that we can't even discern evil when it's ass raping US, so we never replace anyone with BETTER. (A common facet of those born into meager means and then ratfucked by society into "bolivian" is that they revalidate the 'Stockholm Syndrome' meme time and time again.)

And, fuck no, less evil is still evil and, ergo, NOT BETTER.


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