The more I examine the Trump approach to climate change, which is to deny its existence and then pull out of a treaty in which President Obama and his people worked for years to get 190 countries to agree on, the more it looks like Lord Donny is doing two things. First, he’s pissed off at the way he feels he’s been treated by Macron of France and Merkel of Germany (and no, Sean Spicer – he does not love Angela Merkel of Germany; apparently, you don’t listen to his speeches and read his Tweets), and he is trying like hell to “stick it to them.”
He is also trying to satiate the brain-dead minions who make up the only base he has left. He is back in campaign mode because he sincerely believes he won the election fair and square and that his voters put him there. If you’ll recall, Trump ran a campaign that was largely gleaned from right wing talk radio talking points. I don’t mean the hosts, either; I mean the callers. If you have ever listened to right wing talk, what Trump says will seem familiar. The losers who call into those programs believe that shit and say it every day. He is playing to the Republican “base,” and there has never been a better term for those reprobates.
And yes, I call them “reprobates.” They use the term “patriot” wholly ironically and they are too stupid to realize it. They claim to love America, but they hate most Americans. I mean, for Chrissakes, only about 23-24 percent of Americans voted for Trump and at least a third of those only did so because he was a Republican. The fact that we can’t beat them in an election is because, as stupid as they are, when it comes to politics, the far left is even stupider.
But I digress. I want to talk about the Paris Accords.
First of all, if you are one of those who believe the world is doomed because of what Lord Donny is planning to do, well… calm down. Proclaiming gloom and doom is precisely why people like Trump and the Republican Party do shit like this and it is a key reason they keep getting elected. They want liberals to look like “Chicken Little” and run around screaming about the end of the planet. I’m planning another column about this subject, but let’s just say that we are NOT as “polarized” as we are being led to believe. The vast majority of American voters want to vote for someone who can do something, and they want to vote for a movement than can do something. They are NOT motivated by gloom and doom scenarios; only the far right wing and far left “political junkies” are motivated by that sort of thing. Most voters want to feel hope.
It’s also ridiculous to claim that the planet is doomed because the United States is pulling out of the Paris Accords. That is just insane. In fact, you actually play into the cartoon version of the “USA” propagated by the alt-right. It’s like the United States is the center of the universe and our pulling out of the treaty means the planet is now screwed. That’s just not true. It’s “fake news.” For one thing, we may have already passed the point of no return on climate; we won’t know that for a few decades. But then, there is the fact that the United States is only one of 190 signatories to the treaty. Who in their right mind thinks the United States backing out of the treaty will cause the entire treaty to collapse? For that matter, I hate to break it to you, but the rest of the world isn’t entirely dependent on us like they seemed to be in the 1950s. The other 189 countries will do just fine.
So will we, frankly. Our alternative fuels infrastructure is already growing by leaps and bounds and there is nothing, really, that will stop it. Solar power is already cheaper than power generated by coal, for example, which means Lord Donny and the rest of the Republican Party are lying when they promise that coal miners will see their jobs return. Also, there is a growing trend toward electric and hybrid cars, and that is unlikely to stop, especially with gasoline set to return to $3-$4 per gallon territory within the next few years. Yes, there has been a trend toward SUVs and pickups recently, but most of the best sellers get upwards of 22-25 miles per gallon, with the extremely popular Nissan Rogue SUV getting 34 mpg combined (city and highway) and the most popular pickup trucks getting upwards of 25 mpg combined. Compare that to 20 years ago, when the averages were in the teens for both, and you can see, we’re not heading back. Then, there is the popularity of hybrids, which continues to grow and the Tesla S, which has already set records for popularity, even before they have been delivered.
If there is one thing that is for sure, societies tend to not move backward. If you believe we’re going to head back to the internal combustion engine for everything, then you’d have to believe that it’s possible we’ll all give up our cell phones for an old rotary dial wired phone. It can be said that our government is moving backward somewhat, but society continues to move forward in spite of them. And that is what we need to focus on when it comes to climate change and the Republican (NOT JUST TRUMP) rejection of the Paris Accords. What this rejection of an unprecedented agreement in which 190 nations all agreed that something needs to be done to preserve the climate means is, Republicans don’t care about anything but how much cash they have now. They are denying Americans jobs and economic advantage by rejecting something that just about every other country in the world thinks is necessary. That puts us at a disadvantage. And for a GOP that has been promising massive numbers of jobs, that is a big deal for most Americans.
Republicans have been whining about “global warming” and climate change for years. They reject the science outright and they have done everything they can to make this shit political. This has to transcend politics, but until it does, we have to make a realistic case as to why our participation in this treaty is essential. In other words, it shouldn’t be political, but they have made it so, so we have to deal with it politically. That does NOT mean we have to convince far right Republicans that “climate change is real.” That’s a waste of time and energy.
First of all, Republicans want to have this issue both ways. They want to claim that there is no evidence that climate change is being caused by excessive CO2 in the atmosphere. At the same time, they like to use the childish, “but anyway…” defense. For example, Republicans, including the moronic current head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, love to claim that China and India are the worst offenders when it comes to pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. In fact, back in March, on an episode of “This Week,” Pruitt stated straight out that “the largest producers of CO2 internationally” are China and India. This is a lie. On a per capita basis, the UNITED STATES emits more than twice as much as China and more than eight times as much as India. During the same program, he also claimed that China and India “(won’t) have to take steps (to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) until 2030,” which is another lie. They actually have to reach the same goals as everyone else BY 2030, which means they’ll have to start now.
On a total kilotons basis of measurement, China emitted more than 10.6 million kilotons of CO2 in 2015, as opposed to the US, which emitted 5.1 million kilotons, but then, China has roughly five times as many people. Of course, India emitted 2.4 million kilotons of CO2, which makes Pruitt a liar on both counts. Since cutting CO2 emissions is about changing behaviors, the only measurement that matters is a per capita measurement. China emits 7.73 tons per capita and India emits 1.87 tons per capita, while the United States emits 16.07 tons per capita. Of course, even the United States isn’t the worst in the world per capita. That honor goes to Qatar, whose people emit 39.74 tons per capita. (Source)
It is just a fact that every country in the world lives under the same environmental conditions and we all share the same planet. Yet, Lord Donny and the rest of the Republican Party believe they can play an “isolationist” game here. Worse, they all lie in order to rationalize their silliness. The lies Donald Trump told during his announcement of his decision to pull out of the Paris Accords yesterday are epic, but they are also Republican orthodoxy. The lies were just too transparent for words and they play to the Republican “base” while ignoring the rest of the American people, as well as the rest of the world.
For example, when Lord Donny claimed that the Paris Accords would bring us “lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories and vastly diminished economic production,” he was outright lying. There have been numerous studies of the Accords, but only one of them came to that conclusion, and Trump’s people (surely he didn’t read it) cherry-picked that study (Source), which makes a lot of assumptions that are completely unsupportable (that’s too kind – the assumptions are ridiculous) and bring forth an extreme result. For example, the study assumes that there will be no increase in clean electrical generation, that industries won’t adapt and change to meet regulations and they even assume that the other 189 countries won’t reduce their emissions. In other words, the study that Trump’s people chose for him to base his remarks on assumes that we will act alone and that no other country will even bother to do anything. And they did so because they wanted to show the worst possible numbers.
Trump also lied when he claimed that China will be able to build as many coal plants as they want, whereas we can’t build any. We can build as many coal plants as we want, although that will probably not happen at all. The market itself decides what happens to coal, and it has pretty much decided that, with solar and wind at or around price parity and dropping and coal rising in costs (and no; it is not because of excessive regulation!), it makes more sense to invest in solar and wind production. But getting back to the lie, even before the Paris Accords were signed and finalized, electrical utilities in China, like those in the United States, had already begun scaling back their use of coal. The air in most Chinese cities is horrible and Chinese officials want to change that, unlike Republicans here. Earlier this year, China stopped construction on more than 100 coal burning plants and they have put a hold on at least as many more slated for future construction. (Source) In fact, according to officials who are monitoring progress on the Paris Accords, China is already making progress at a pace that could put them at their goals long before the 2030 deadline.
The truth about this pullout from the Paris Accords is simple. Once again, Republicans have put party ahead of country and they have put us into the position of having to catch up to the rest of the world later on, when we as a nation come to our senses and stop electing the toxic GOP to office anywhere. This issue is not about “stopping global warming,” but rather, it is about the fight to mitigate the effects of climate change. That will require a commitment of resources that will rival the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II. The transformation from a 19th Century technological base in which we rely solely on the internal combustion engine dependent on fossil fuels to a 21st Century infrastructure in which we rely on the wind and sun, among other sources of power, will generate TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS in economic benefit. And Lord Donny has taken us out of that burgeoning market.
We’ve been down this road before, and it has always been Republicans who have tried to move us back. Back when we were confronted with the rise of OPEC, we had a glorious opportunity to prove our innovative skills by making vehicles that could get much better gas mileage through the use of more efficient engines and even through the use of hybrid technology (the first patents on hybrid gas/electric motors were registered in 1917), or even by advancing the use of solar and wind power for electrical generation. Instead, led by Republican Presidents Nixon and Ford, we took a patchwork approach. Nixon established a “banking system” that provided oil companies with tons of tax money for keeping the price of gasoline below a dollar. When that ran out, Jimmy Carter was hit with a fake “oil shortage” while oil companies reserved supplies until they could jack up the prices to where they should have been all along. President Carter implemented conservation measures and invested in solar and wind power, only to watch Republicans, led by Saint Ronald Reagan, destroy those measures and take money away from solar and wind power development.
Now, we have Donald Trump, maintaining a Republican tradition of working hard to keep us in the 19th Century for as long as possible. The other 189 countries in the Paris Accords will continue to work toward mitigating the effects of climate change and they will reap the economic benefits of the transition. Meanwhile, private industry here in the United States will continue to work to mitigate climate change effects, but they will have to do it in something of a bubble. They will not have the benefit of a government capable of pooling resources and getting things done more quickly and they won’t have the benefit of the minds of 189 other nations helping them. We will be forced to import everything we need because we won’t develop the infrastructure we need to develop and maintain an energy infrastructure that weans us from fossil fuels. We will watch as countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, progress and thrive in this new economic reality, and we will be forced to bring up the rear. Again. It’s become a Republican tradition. They claim to be “fiscally responsible,” but they have cut us off at the knees once again. And no, it’s not just Trump – it’s the entire Republican mindset.
They just have to go. All Republicans. Let them sort things out and reconstitute into a party that gives a shit about the American people. Of course, that won’t happen until they lose, and lose big.