Cause of Death: Donald Trump

This column by The Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson speaks for itself … in fact, the title says it all …

Our planet is in crisis. We don’t have time for Trump’s foolishness.

Eugene-RobinsonHere is how to interpret the alarming new United Nations-sponsored report on global warming: We are living in a horror movie. The world needs statesmen to lead the way to safety. Instead, we have President Trump, who essentially says, “Hey, let’s all head to the dark, creepy basement where the chain saws and razor-sharp axes are kept. What could go wrong?”

The answer is almost everything, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The impact of human-induced warming is worse than previously feared, the report released Monday says, and only drastic, coordinated action will keep the damage short of catastrophe.

To this point, climate change has been a slow-motion calamity whose impacts, month to month and year to year, have been hard to perceive. Unfortunately, according to the report, that is about to change.

The burning of fossil fuels on an industrial scale has raised global temperatures by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. That may not sound like much, but look at the consequences we’re already seeing: Stronger, slower, wetter tropical storms. Unprecedented heat waves. Devastating floods. Dying coral reefs. A never-before-seen summer shipping lane across the Arctic Ocean.

Meanwhile, humankind continues to pump heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a tragically self-destructive rate. The IPCC calculates that a further temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius — almost inevitable, given our dependence on coal, oil and gas — would be challenging but manageable. An increase of about 2 degrees, however, would be disastrous.

What’s the difference? With a 1.5-degree rise, about 14 percent of the world’s population would be vulnerable to severe and deadly heat waves every five years; with a 2-degree rise, that figure jumps to 37 percent. With a 1.5-degree rise, an additional 350 million city dwellers worldwide will face water shortages; with a 2-degree rise, 411 million people will suffer such drought. With a 1.5-degree rise, coral reefs will experience “very frequent mass mortalities”; with a 2-degree rise, coral reefs will “mostly disappear.”

Small differences can have huge impacts. Under the 1.5-degree scenario, up to 69 million people will be newly exposed to flooding. Under the 2-degree scenario — which the report estimates would boost sea-level rise by as much as 36 inches — the number rises to 80 million.

Please don’t dismiss all of this as just another boring compendium of carefully hedged facts and figures. I have followed the IPCC’s research since covering the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The new report strikes a different tone that combines weary fatalism with hair-on-fire alarm. In dry, just-the-facts language, it predicts declining fisheries, failing crops, more widespread risk from tropical diseases such as malaria, economic dislocation in the most-affected countries — and, by logical extension, greater political instability.

All of these impacts are bad with 1.5 more degrees of temperature rise. With 2 degrees they are much, much worse.

The obvious solution is to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. The IPCC says emissions need to decline by at least 40 percent by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050, if we are to hold warming to 1.5 degrees. Yet last year, according to the International Energy Agency, global emissions hit an all-time high.

Since 2016, representatives of 195 nations — including all the big emitters — signed on to the landmark Paris agreement calling for systematic emissions reductions beginning in 2020. But Trump, who has ignorantly called climate change a “hoax,” decided to withdraw the United States from the pact. Even worse, Trump is aggressively trying to increase reliance on coal, which contributes a disproportionate amount of carbon dioxide emissions compared with other fossil fuels.

U.S. carbon emissions actually fell slightly in 2017, because of the expansion of the renewable energy sector. But Trump administration policies are designed to reverse that trend; and if they fail to do so, it will be because the rest of the world is already moving toward clean energy — a huge economic shift that threatens to leave the United States behind.

When you read the IPCC report, you see that what the world really needs is visionary leadership. As the world’s greatest economic power and its second-largest carbon emitter, the United States is uniquely capable of shepherding a global transition to renewable energy. Instead, the Trump administration rejects the science of climate change and actively favors dirty energy sources over clean ones.

Humanity has no time for such foolishness. “I’m the president of the United States. I’m not the president of the globe,” Trump thundered at a recent rally. On what planet does he think this nation resides?

25 thoughts on “Cause of Death: Donald Trump

  1. There are no words to describe the Klaxon that has sounded from the IPCC report. This is all alarm bells sounding at once. I follow quite a lot of (actual) climate researchers on Twitter. Their reports (a bit dry and full of non layman term data) are alarming to say the least. But their warning tweets only get retweeted in their community of scientists because no one else understands the collapse they are looking at. I think the twelve year window is generous and erring on the side of trying to give governments time to change policy. But secretly, many of these people are saying that the feedback loops already created are new territory, unpredictable and likely to give us a lot of grief even if we cut all emissions immediately (which will not happen). I am afraid the earth is going to give us a tumultuous ride and it starts now. The DT’s of this world are about to descend into the pit of hell on the downward plunge of the roller-coaster. Hopefully the rest of us will be tossed out to find some sort of existence in the collapse of civilisation. I hate to sound so gloomy, but I think we should all gather up our spears and go back to basics, ‘cos unless we all (across the globe) go green now, that will be our only choice left. 😡

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gloomy? You actually sound optimistic compared to me! I have predicted that the human race is on a collision course and will soon bring about its own extinction either through its failure to address the problems of planet Earth and it’s environment in a timely enough manner, or by use of nuclear weapons. I still believe that, and am only thankful that I won’t likely be around to see it happen. Hopefully a few species of animals will survive to rebuild and hopefully the failed experiment of humans with their opposable thumbs will not be repeated. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, it is past time for business leaders to tell the President to get on board or get out of the way. The US Department of Defense has cited for several years that climate change is an existential threat to national security. There are many reasons, but as food and fresh water resources become dear at the same time rising sea levels hit the coast and forest fires are larger and more intense and droughts are more severe, governments and terrorists will step in to seize others resources. It should be noted Syria’s war started after a five year drought and corrupt management and inequity around water distribution. The disenfranchised invited terrorists in and they remained. Keith

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    • Funny, isn’t it, that Trump claims Canada is a threat to our national security, yet the REAL threat, climate change, he denies. I agree … states and businesses all need to speak out against Trump’s climate and energy policies, and some are, but others are … what … intimidated, or reaping the benefits of his policies? We have been entirely too complacent for too long. Water shortages, food shortages … those are things that happen “over there”, and not here. But if you look at the fires in the west these past few summers, the hurricanes of last year and already this year … how can one possibly deny? The heat of this summer … most days the sky doesn’t even look clear here, but there seems to often be a haziness to it. How can it be denied? Shame on the U.S. for being the ONLY nation on the globe that isn’t rising to the occasion and taking this threat seriously.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill, I have hope in groups like The Breakthrough Energy Coalition of over 180 companies who are seeking technological solutions to renewable energy and conservation. I am encouraged by Michael Bloomberg who is heavily involved with almost 1,000 global cities to share successful ideas. I am also encouraged that solar and wind energy are growing at double digit rates each year as prices have greatly reduced. Yet, we need the federal government to help not hinder. This train has left the station without Trump and the EPA. He can slow it, but he cannot stop it. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • All of this is true, and encouraging. But while all he can do is slow the train, he is doing just that, and by what I’ve read from the IPCC report, we cannot afford even a slowdown. Trump will never be on board with it, for it is does not play well to his audience. I wonder if Pence, left to his own devices, would be any different?

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  3. Dear Jill,

    Climate change problems should be one of top 3 issues that need to be pushed by Democrats. I would partner with others like TV stations, celebrities, etc., to do free education ads. We need everyone on deck. No less than the survival of our planet is at stake.

    Businesses that don’t get on board to do away with coal/ fossil fuel reliance need to be fined/ taxed to where they are incentivized to get on the band wagon to work to save our country. There is no greater national security interest at stake.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • I strongly agree with you! With Trump and the GOP at the helm, it will be up to the states to take the bull by the horns and enact conscientious legislation to regulate businesses and step away from fossil fuels. They will be challenged every step of the way by Trump, as he has already shown, but hopefully they will persevere. This is too important, and there won’t be any second chances.
      Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. We have to remember those worst affected are those unable to defend themselves ; they cannot move , find other employment , or another place to live. The effect of climate change is very similar to the effect of sanctions , both are man made and both hit the poor.
    Already the winemakers in the UK are rubbing their hands at the boost to the vine , the swings and roundabouts optimists are saying what good things will come out of climate change. ‘ One man’s meat is another man’s poison ‘ hey that old saying sounds a bit male – centred in these enlightened times. Dare I be extremely callous ; there may be creatures who won’t cry to see a huge reduction in the global human population.
    Mr Trump claims he looks to a bright future for America ( I hope he means all of it ) , once we can get this climate nonsense out of the way the wheels of industry can really get going , stop pussyfooting around these egg-head climatic scientists let’s get on with the job.
    Well nature cares for no living thing , she is impartial and completely amoral our presence or absence makes no difference to her.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are quite right when you say that those who are most affected are those who cannot change their circumstances. They are rarely considered by the ‘Western powers’, I think. But I am thoroughly confused why the winemakers are celebrating. Their grape vines need water to thrive, yes? And what happens when there is a drought? And while your comment may be callous, it is not without truth, and is something I have been considering for a time now. No, Trump doesn’t want to make things ‘better’ for any but the wealthy. But, I wonder who they think will build their fancy houses, produce the food they need to eat, and manufacture all those toys and gadgets they think are so essential to their lives once they allow the poorer half of the nation to perish? And your last thought mirrors that which I have heard said many, many times: The earth will survive without humans, but humans cannot survive without the earth. I still think that we are on a path to self-extinction. Perhaps I better get busy and write that book now, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. No time for hugs, Scottie, at least not for DJT, his psychophants, and his Trum-pets. What is needed is in-their-face protesters who tell him it is Change-Or-Die time. Either he changes or the world dies. But even that won’t help. Dinosaur Tongue will still be touting the use of coal on his deathbed. Well, let him breathe the fumes face first, so he can find out that climate change is real.

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      • Why over 17? I’d start at 12 at the latest.
        Right now in Canada the federal government has made it mandatory to teach children about residential schools, and how they affected generations of indigenous families. The problem is that each province has the right to set their own cirriculum. Manitoba’s cirriculum was pronounced the best yesterday, they start teaching children about residential schools in Grade 1, and follow through to Grade 12. Racism is down significantly, and indigenous children are getting markedly higher grades. This wasn’t mentioned, but I suspect the high rate of suicides among indigenous children is also down, compared to other provinces. Children can learn even the bad parts of history at an early age. Climate change would be a good subject to tackle next

        Liked by 3 people

        • What were the residential schools? I find it encouraging that Canada is actively working to combat bigotry and racism in such a way and am happy to hear it’s working! Sadly, that is not the case here. Yes, climate change should be mandatory in all schools, but last I heard, lawmakers were arguing about whether climate change should even be allowed to be taught. This is what happens when you have greedy coal and oil barons who have the ear of the president and can sway policy.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Go to https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Indian_residential_school_system
            for some basic information on Canadian residential schools. I cannot tell you even a small per cent of what was done in them. The government took children away from indigenous families and forced them to learn English culture, tryingto destroy their own culture in the process. These schools were run by religious entities, mostly Protestant but some Catholic. You know the stories of Catholic priests sexually abusing children? Imagine that times hundreds. Phtsical abuse, mental abuse, and lots of sexual abuse by male and female teachers. And in many cases, outright killing. The harm these schools did to their “prisoners” is still apparent today. And the schools were only a part of what the governments did to indigenous peoples right across Canada. They were literally committing genocide by law.
            It is amazing there are still indigenous people in our country, me being one of them.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. The US was at the forefront of renewable energy technology. Now due to tRump’s administration trying to end any incentive and innovation of renewable energy China has emerged as the world leader. China is putting a lot of money and other resources in to not only developing the technology but in arrange it self to be the market leaders. China wins and the US loses. There are countries planning to do away with gas autos in a decade or two. They are putting a lot of money into electric cars and the support systems. While the US is lowering fuel mileage standards. The problem is if our auto makers want to sell in those countries they will need to have non-fossil fuel autos to sell there. What Trump and his EPA are doing now will effect the country and its economy well in to the future. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    • The effects of Trump’s poor decisions will reach far and wide, and will be felt by not only all of us here in the US, but in other nations as well, for the carbon that Trump is so determined to send into the atmosphere doesn’t only affect our own climate. And you are right, the U.S. will not be able to sell their cars abroad if we don’t keep up with the worldwide standards. We ceded our leadership role in many areas the day Trump was inaugurated.

      On another note, Ford is planning some massive layoffs … and the Dow is dropping. Welcome to Donald Trump’s “great economy”. Sigh.

      Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

          • Did you read that the op-ed piece that claimed to be written by tRump was fact checked and each sentence was either a lie or a distortion of fact. Even those that work in the administration can’t stop lying. Hugs

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes, I read that disgusting piece of cr*p that he obviously didn’t write because a) he doesn’t even understand healthcare, and b) his vocabulary doesn’t even understand half those words. And yes, I read the factcheck too and just shook my head, growled and spat. Most disgusting administration … disgusting president … disgusting Congress … ggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
              Hugs!

              Liked by 1 person

  7. And this is why the Great Trumpster Fire ran so many of his businesses into the ground. Inability to innovate. However, U.S. industry must and absolutely will compete on the global level and in order to be competitive they will comply with other nations and continue to seek clean energy for their own cost-cutting benefits.

    He won’t succeed in saving the coal or any other dirty energy industry. They will innovate or die for lack of customers outside the U.S. and most of us can’t afford to be gluttonous with our energy costs.

    😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • All excellent points. So many kept saying what a great businessman Trump was, but what kind of business man has multiple bankruptcies and over 6,000 lawsuits to his name? And yet we entrust him with our lives. You’re right … renewable energy will continue to expand and become less costly than coal/oil/gas, whether Trump likes it or not. It is a train gaining momentum that he cannot stop, though he will make our lives miserable as he tries.

      Liked by 2 people

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