Going Once, Going Twice …

Arguably the single most important issue facing the world today is climate change.  In the throes of the current pandemic, and amidst the undeniably craziest election the U.S. has ever seen, we in this country seem to have largely forgotten about the damage that we humans have done to this planet over the past 100 years or so.  The wildfires on the West Coast and the onslaught of hurricanes in recent years should have been a wake-up call, but … we are still focusing on other things, while the world burns.  We are nearing the point of no return in our wanton disregard for the environment, yet few seem to care.  Robert Reich speaks wise words …

Trump doesn’t care if wildfires destroy the west – it didn’t vote for him

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

The climate crisis is upon us all but the president pursues more rollbacks. This election offers an existential choice

The air outside my window is yellow today. It was orange yesterday. The Air Quality Index is over 200. The Environmental Protection Agency defines this as a “health alert” in which “everyone may experience more serious health effects if they are exposed for 24 hours.” Unfortunately, the index has been over 200 for several days.

The west is burning. Wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington are incinerating homes, killing scores of people, sickening many others, causing hundreds of thousands to evacuate, burning entire towns to the ground, consuming millions of acres, and blanketing the western third of the United States with thick, acrid, and dangerous smoke.

Yet the president has said and done almost nothing. A month ago, Trump wanted to protect lives in Oregon and California from “rioters and looters.” He sent federal forces into the streets of Portland and threatened to send them to Oakland and Los Angeles.

Today, Portland is in danger of being burned, and Oakland and Los Angeles are under health alerts. Trump will visit California on Monday, but he has said little.

One reason: these states voted against him in 2016 and he still bears a grudge.

He came close to rejecting California’s request for emergency funding.

“He told us to stop giving money to people whose houses had burned down because he was so rageful that people in the state of California didn’t support him,” said former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor.

Another explanation for Trump’s silence is that the wildfires are tied to human-caused climate change, which Trump has done everything humanly possible to worsen.

Extreme weather disasters are rampaging across America. On Wednesday, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration released its latest State of the Climate report, finding that just in August, the US was hit by four billion-dollar calamities. In addition to wildfires, there were two enormous hurricanes and an extraordinary Midwest derecho.

These are inconvenient facts for a president who has spent much of his presidency dismantling every major climate and environmental policy he can lay his hands on.

Starting with his unilateral decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, Trump has been the most anti-environmental president in history.

He has called climate change a “hoax.” He has claimed, with no evidence, that windmills cause cancer. He has weakened Obama-era limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide from power plants and from cars and trucks. He has rolled back rules governing clean air, water and toxic chemicals. He has opened more public land to oil and gas drilling.

He has targeted California in particular, revoking the state’s authority to set tougher car emission standards than those required by the federal government.

In all, the Trump administration has reversed, repealed, or otherwise rolled back nearly 70 environmental rules and regulations. More than 30 rollbacks are still in progress.

Now, seven weeks before election day, with much of the nation either aflame or suffering other consequences of climate change, Trump unabashedly defends his record and attacks Joe Biden.

“The core of [Biden’s] economic agenda is a hard-left crusade against American energy,” Trump harrumphed in a Rose Garden speech last month.

Not quite. While Biden has made tackling climate change a centerpiece of his campaign, proposing to invest $2 trillion in a massive green jobs program to build renewable energy infrastructure, his ideas are not exactly radical. The money would be used for improving energy efficiency, constructing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, and increasing renewable energy from wind, solar, and other technologies.

Biden wants to end the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity by 2035, and to bring America to net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by no later than 2050. If what is now occurring in the west is any indication, his goals may be too modest. 2050 will be too late.

Nonetheless, Americans have a clear choice. In a few weeks, when they decide whether Trump deserves another four years, climate change will be on the ballot.

The choice shouldn’t be hard to make. Like the coronavirus, the dire consequences of climate change – coupled with Trump’s utter malfeasance – offer unambiguous proof that he couldn’t care less about the public good.

20 thoughts on “Going Once, Going Twice …

  1. Hello Jill. The pettiness of tRump and really all his sycophants, still stuns me. I have know some really low life people and I don’t think they were as petty as tRump. As for Robert Reich, I love his YouTube channel and watch his video as soon as I get notified of them. I am at a loss the last two days with the news, I simply have no words anymore. Hugs

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    • It stuns me as well, my friend. Every day there is some new abomination that his sycophants find a way to whitewash or “justify” in their warped minds. The Republicans have done themselves no favours by throwing their lot in with Trump & Co. As far as I’m concerned, they could all leave the country tomorrow and I wouldn’t miss a single one of them. Like you, I am running out of words … every day I wonder how much lower they can sink. Hugs

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      • Hello Jill. Thank you, but you remind me of something else that scares me. When tRump loses, what about the ones that go underground hoping to raise the spirit if ihis hatred in a few years? There is no shortage of “Republican” sycophants now vying to be his successor. Hugs

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          • Jill, Scottie, they have always been there. Trump made it OK for the white nationalists to come out in the open. My guess is they will continue to be out. Reading a novel that included a first person perspective on a white nationalist as one of the characters, the researched novel author noted the white nationalists’ goal is to make their presence seem larger than it is. That is not a comfort as the FBI is tracking about 1,000 white nationalist domestic terror groups. Also, Trump will be a regular commenter on President Biden on Fox or some source, so we will have to hear his uninformed opinions still. But, it is interesting. Keith

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            • I had the same thought about Trump appearing frequently on Fox to keep his rants and “hoax” theories alive. Rumour has it that Junior is planning a run in 2024. Sigh. What was the title of the book you mentioned?


                • Sigh. I could almost feel sorry for Junior after reading Michael Cohen’s book where he relates how cruelly Trump treated his son, but for the fact that Junior has become just as much of a jackass as his father. Frankly, as I told my daughter tonight, I didn’t realize there could be so much evil within a single family.

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  2. Jill, if California was measured as a country, it would be in the top five in solar energy in the world. Oil/ natural gas friendly Texas has about 1/5 of its electricity produced by wind energy, with renewable energy passing coal energy this year. Iowa gets 40% of its electricity from wind energy.

    Donald Trump is playing an old hand. About ten years ago, oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens said on “60 Minutes,” natural gas will buy us time, but the future of energy in the middle portion of the country is wind energy. I would listen to Pickens who predicted this transformation almost ten years, while Trump cannot see the facts today. Keith

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    • Yes, a number of states and corporations have taken the initiative on renewable energy, and the bottom line is that fossil fuels are not going to make a great comeback, but are going away, whether Donald Trump and his oil baron cronies like it or not. How much more could we do to decrease our dependence on oil & coal while increasing renewable energy sources if only the federal government was supportive and stepped up to the plate? Soon, it will be too late.

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    • Sigh. Obviously. I wonder, though, after they’ve killed us all off, who they will have to cook their meals, grow their food, clean their houses, build their luxury autos & yachts, and pilot their private jets?

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      • I wonder the same thing about who will pick the produce when they shut all the immigrants, illegal and otherwise, out of the country. I can’ see Trump and his Republican buddies out there picking produce we all eat. I’d “really” enjoy seeing the Fox crew out there picking. 😀 — Suzanne

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