Trump Dissolves Crucial Climate Panel In Latest Assault on Science

 

 

One of the missions of not-really-departed White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was “dismantling the administrative state;” code for taking apart the government that Trump’s special interests will not tolerate. The Trump administration has been busy issuing executive orders eradicating any part of government their special interests oppose, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the special interests directing Trump’s cabinet are the Koch brothers and big oil. Remember, Trump did not personally vet or select any of his cabinet appointees. That task was assigned to the Heritage Foundation as surrogates for the Kochs who have wanted the federal government “dismantled” since the 1980s, Now they have a rubber stamp in the Oval Office and their Big Oil cohorts have unlimited funds and influence over Trump.

It is no surprise that reports indicate that Trump and his anti-environment Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt “are taking directions from Big Oil.” It is why the agency is purging scientists and actively eliminating regulations and environmental protections that even remotely impact the fossil fuel industry, not just big oil.

By now, only a moron is unaware that despite overwhelming scientific data and decades of research to the contrary, the fossil fuel industry denies climate change exists, or that manmade emissions cause and are exacerbating the condition. Trump claims the whole climate change ‘thing’ is a Chinese hoax. He has also claimed over 50 times that climate change has been thoroughly debunked because there is cold weather someplace on Earth, and he’s seen it.

Over the weekend, the Trump administration, in its devoted service to Big Oil, took another step toward dismantling the administrative state by dissolving a critical, congressionally-mandated, agency because its climate assessment didn’t comport with Trump’s climate denial.

Less than two weeks ago the draft version of the 2018 scientific section of the National Climate Assessment was leaked out of a real fear the Trump and his EPA head would attempt to bury it. Now the Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment members will not have to worry about their report being buried; Trump disbanded the “committee.”

The committee’s purpose in the upcoming 2018 report was translating the findings of 13 different federal agencies, over three decades of climate data, and studies conducted by tens-of-thousands of the world’s scientists into the effects of carbon emissions on the warming climate. Those findings were intended to be used to aid policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the federal government’s climate analysis into their long-term infrastructure planning for a broad range of projects from building roads and bridges to maintaining adequate hydroelectric supplies.

Now those public and private officials will have to look elsewhere for guidance because Trump doesn’t believe the National Climate Assessment’s 2018 conclusion that,

There are no alternative explanations to human industrial activity being the cause and no natural cycles are found in the observational record that can explain the observed changes in climate.”

According to the passage of the 1990 law calling for the National Climate Assessment, the “committee’s report” is supposed to be issued on a quadrennial basis, but it has only been released three times since the law was passed. The 2018 version was certain to be a “contentious issue” based on the Trump administration’s animosity toward anything related to science, but especially so because it is climate science.

It is not clear if the already released “draft” will be punished in a finalized form, but there is already nervous concern among officials about the fate of the report at the news the committee is disbanded. However, the communications director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Julie Roberts, said on Saturday that “this action does not impact the completion of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which remains a key priority.

The chair of the 15-member “committee,” Richard Moss, said during an interview on Saturday that ending the group’s work was shortsighted. Moss is a professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of Geographical Sciences and warned of consequences for the decisions state and local authorities tasked with making planning decisions. Mr. Moss said:

It doesn’t seem to be the best course of action. We’re going to be running huge risks here and possibly end up hurting the next generation’s economic prospects.”

Seattle’s mayor Ed Murray said that the move to dissolve the committee represents “an example of the president not leading, and the president stepping away from reality.” Murray shared that from a public utilities standpoint, it is going to be “more difficult” for cities to participate in the climate assessment. On climate change, Trump “has left us all individually to figure it out.

The past chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate, Richard Wright, has been busy “working with the committee to convey the importance of detailed climate projections” in the 2018 assessment. The Civil Engineers’ society is the agency that establishes “guidelines that form the basis of building codes across the country,” and those guidelines are founded on a historical record that may no longer be an accurate predictor of future weather extremes due to the rapid change in Earth’s climate. Mr. Wright said:

We need to work on updating our standards with good estimates on what future weather and climate extremes will be. I think it’s going to be a serious handicap for us that the advisory committee is not functional.

This latest “dismantling” at Trump’s hands is more than just an assault on science or taking apart the government, although it is certainly both of those. And it is much more than just Trump “stepping away from reality or not leading.” It is a well-planned and well-funded effort by Republicans’ special interest donors that will have deleterious effects on the nation, the economy, and the American people for generations. And while it may not be the immediate existential threat of a thermonuclear war, it is a threat that scientists have been warning was coming for several decades. Sadly, now that the the world, and Americans, are seeing and feeling the changing climate’s effects and calling on the government to take action, Trump is going in the opposite direction and disbanded the one agency that may have prevented the worst effects of an impending disaster.

Climate Report Leaked To Prevent Trump From Smothering It

Once upon a time before America was ruled by a superstitious religious cabal reminiscent of 13th Century church attacking purveyors of science, the United States Congress mandated that a National Climate Assessment would be conducted every four years. On Monday last, the New York Times published a copy of the ‘special science section’ of 2018’s draft version of the comprehensive study. The Times felt, as did the scientists who conducted the study, that it was crucial to publish the “leaked copy” of the report because they and the scientists feared the Trump administration and EPA chief Scott Pruitt would “smother it in its crib.

The congressionally-mandated study was conducted by 13 federal government agencies that concluded no matter what dumb Donald or his anti-science EPA director claim, global warming “has had a verifiable impact on the environment.” And, being good scientists, the researchers referenced thousands of studies conducted by tens of thousands of scientists over 30-plus years that documented climate change on land and in the air. The scientists wrote:

Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change.”

The scientists also noted that this is not some kind of future problem. Americans, like the rest of the Earth’s population, are feeling the devastating effects of global climate change right now. The report states:

Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans.”

The lengthy scientific report makes an oft-heard conclusion that even if human beings immediately stopped emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the Earth would still face increased temperatures over the next century. Every 8th grade student learns in junior high school science class that greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane remain in the atmosphere for decades and can take 200 years to eventually dissolve in the oceans. Those eighth-graders also learn that a even a minor global temperature increase as small as .30 degrees Celsius has a monumental effect on the climate that affects the weather. It is noteworthy too that those same 8th graders learn the difference between climate and weather. Unfortunately, the current administration is not nearly as smart as an eighth grader.

As Gizmodo reported, the draft report reflects federal government scientists’ “unshaken and continued belief” that human industrial activity is the primary driver of climate change. Trump is unimpressed with the scientists’ conclusions and still regards the idea of climate change as a hoax perpetrated by China; his proof is that there is cold winter weather and snow, and he’s seen it with his own eyes.

The superstitious Trump has claimed, at least 53 times, that literally thousands of climate scientists conducting decades of research and studies are dead wrong because if there is cold weather anyplace on Earth, then the preponderance of climate science research and study results are automatically “debunked.”

EPA anti-science moron Pruitt believes that human-caused CO2 emissions have had no impact on climate change. It was the two idiots’ opposition to scientific facts that prompted some patriotic scientist to leak the results of the study to the Times. And, it is noteworthy that the NYT sent out a “breaking news” alert directly after reviewing study’s results saying it was “an alarming draft report” on climate change that federal scientists feared would be instantly suppressed by the Trump administration.

The executive summary of the comprehensive report is more alarming than the Times let on and it informs why it was “leaked” to prevent it being buried by the anti-science Trump cabal. It is a blunt pronouncement that Trump or his science-denying EPA chief do not want released to the public because the American people have seen for themselves exactly what the scientists have been, and are currently, warning is the result of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. The summary says:

Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. Thousands of studies conducted by tens of thousands of scientists around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; disappearing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea level; and an increase in atmospheric water vapor. … The last few years have also seen record-breaking climate-related weather extremes, as well as the warmest years on record for the entire globe.

There are no alternative explanations to human industrial activity being the cause and no natural cycles are found in the observational record that can explain the observed changes in climate.”

Thus far, neither the Trump nor his science-denying EPA director have commented on the release of the report they certainly intended to conceal from the public. However, there is little doubt they will go to great lengths to keep it as far away from the people as possible and begin anew a dastardly crusade to demonize science and scientists as disreputable and un-American.

For this author and anyone concerned about the fate of the future for Earth’s population, whichever scientist(s) did expose the document should be hailed as heroic and their identity kept a carefully guarded secret; especially with a vindictive piece of anti-science work in the White House doing his best to imitate the 14th Century church and punish purveyors of science.

 

Despite Trump’s Denial, Sea Level Rise is Drastically Accelerating

While the rest of the civilized world is frantically taking steps to staunch the existential threat to humanity due to global climate change, America is ignoring one of its most devastating effects that pose a very serious threat to both of its expansive coastlines. It is noteworthy that just one of the primary reasons the rest of the civilized world despises Donald J. Trump is due to his unilateral exit from the Paris Climate Accord; an exit he predicates on the 12th century belief that science is of Satan the Devil.  It doesn’t matter how advanced or developing the rest of the world’s nations are, they understand firsthand how crucial a concerted global effort is to at least slow global warming to save the people;  not the planet. Earth will always repair man’s damage, it just may take a couple of centuries according to scientists.

There was some incredibly bad news for the Earth’s population, especially those living in close proximity to coastal areas, this week that was generally ignored due to the Earth-shattering importance of Donald Trump’s social media activity. Apparently, the American media is well aware that people are too stupid to comprehend something as simple as sea level rise, so they hew closely to bombastic clickbait stories that sell ad space – like Trump’s tweets.

According to a new study in Nature Climate Change, “global sea level rise jumped 50 percent” over the past  15 years; the most recent period that data are available. The study revealed that the alarming and unprecedented melting of Greenland ice sheets is one of the “major new contributors” to sea level rise. In the late 1990s it only accounted for less than 5 percent of sea level rise, but in 2014 it was responsible for well over a quarter of the increase.

If that isn’t bad enough news for the hundreds-of-millions of human beings living in coastal areas, scientists that have been monitoring an enormous iceberg nearly the size of Delaware reported this week it “is poised to detach from one of the largest floating ice shelves in Antarctica and float off into the sea.”

Scientists, including the atmospheric and oceanic professionals under attack by the Trump administration, used satellite measurements and tidal gauges to provide an accurate measure of the impending disaster for the Earth. And it is noteworthy to mention that no part of the Earth has seen the “particularly intense acceleration of sea level rise” more than the United States’ Eastern seaboard.

The study noted that this is particularly dangerous for Virginia and North Carolina where measurements revealed the sea is rising  in those areas “three times more quickly that the worldwide average.” The rise along the East Coast is not all down to melting ice sheets and icebergs though, although it does account for over a quarter of the damage.

Some other contributors are “sinking land masses due to an increase in ground water removal” as a result of severe drought conditions brought on by global climate change and water theft by the fossil fuel industry and big agriculture; both industries that support Republican opposition to battling climate change.

Not that stupid Americans would understand the complexities of ocean currents or how they contribute to weather patterns, climate change and increasingly severe weather events, oceanographers reported that the “water level is higher in those areas than elsewhere.” The scientists also noted that the additional freshwater pouring into the North Atlantic from that Greenland ice melt is “accelerating that dynamic” affecting America’s East Coast. It is worth noting that the East Coast, especially around Virginia and North Carolina, is home to a substantial Naval presence and major shipping ports spanning the entire Eastern seaboard.

A professor of oceanography at Old Dominion University who did not take part in the study or any part of the reporting, Larry Atkinson explained:

This new evidence of accelerating rates is concerning to us as we try to advise local cities and regions on what they’re going to have deal with.”

Although most Americans are ignorant of rudimentary physics, it is worth noting that the greatest factor driving the dangerous rise in sea level is “thermal expansion.” What thermal expansion means in simple terms is that matter at the molecular level changes shape, area, and volume in response to temperature change.   What that means for sea level rise is that as the oceans warm, the sea water takes up more space (expands).

According to “the Fifth Assessment Report” by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that “thermal expansion” of sea water “accounts for up to 55 percent of the global sea level rise.” The melting glaciers and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica account for up to 35 percent of sea level rise and like expanding oceans, those rapid melting ice sheets are only due to “the Earth’s higher land and water temperatures resulting from anthropogenic climate change.

Regardless what dumb Don Trump says, global climate change is real and it is a result of man pouring greenhouse gases, like methane and carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. Americans living in the proximity of coastal areas can rest assured that when they are forced to relocate due to rising seas that America is as responsible, if not more so, than other industrial nations, except maybe China. However, at least China is moving forward to combat climate change while America with a corrupt clown in the White House pretends it is a joke.

Image: TheInsider

 

Rick Perry Proves He’s Stupider Than a Seventh Grader

It is too bad that there are a significant number of Americans who are stupider than dirt and lack an amoeba’s cognitive ability, or worse wasted taxpayer’s money during their primary school education. One thing every seventh grade student learned in science class is that carbon dioxide is a “greenhouse gas” responsible for trapping heat in the atmosphere; a fundamental fact only a complete idiot would dispute or contradict. Enter a complete idiot the moron in the Oval Office tapped to lead the Energy Department, former Texas governor Rick Perry, who disputed and contradicted a well-established and scientifically measured fact on national television.

Perry, as U.S. Secretary of Energy, was appearing on CNBC News recently and not only displayed less intelligence than a single-called zygote, he “made bizarre statements disputing the underlying foundations of physics and chemistry;” and the fundamentals of climate science. Perry may not be the stupidest of the Trump cabal, but he did his level best to claim that humiliating distinction. Perry was given an easy question any seventh grade student could have answered correctly and promptly revealed why he has no right being in government much less running the Energy Department.

The interviewer asked Perry whether carbon dioxide is primarily responsible for climate change to which he confidently replied:

No. Most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”

That response must be a standard line for the oil industry whores in the Trump administration because it is precisely what the head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, says often; recently on national television like Perry.

Now, it doesn’t matter whether or not Pruitt, Perry or Trump’s entire idiotic administration disputes the reality of climate change; any greenhouse gas is classified as such for a very good and scientifically proven reason; they trap heat in the atmosphere and trapped heat warms the climate. And, carbon dioxide traps heat very effectively and as noted in IFLScience; “carbon dioxide has a lifetime in the atmosphere of up to 200 years and is unequivocally the primary driver of climate change.”

To address Perry’s remark about the oceans, it is true the world’s oceans are “carbon sinks” and have absorbed so much carbon dioxide that they stopped the Earth’s warming over the past century significantly. But their ability to absorb carbon dioxide is dependent on “not dead” marine life, and cannot physically or possibly absorb all the CO2 being released into the atmosphere; particularly the CO2 from burning fossil fuels. No matter what Perry says, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that man is pouring into the atmosphere and trapping heat, warming the oceans, and creating climate change that drives the severe weather events wreaking havoc on the Earth’s population.

This remark by Perry and Pruitt, a couple of bible-thumpers who believe fairy tales, is beyond reprehensible. Still, because Americans put an idiot moron in the White House, an idiot moron is running the Department of Energy; a position he is as unqualified for as Pruitt is to run the EPA. Remember, Perry at one time wanted to abolish the DoE and had no idea what the Cabinet level job entailed until after he was confirmed.

Perry is also a piece of work for changing his tune on climate action after being appointed to run the DoE. Prior to landing the gig at the DoE, Perry actually hoped, out loud no less, that Trump wouldn’t exit the Paris Climate Agreement. Now Perry has shut down the DoE’s climate change office and became a staunch “evangelist for climate denial.” He also banned any mention of the terms “climate change” and “Paris Agreement” under any circumstances at the Energy Department and rumors are that if Perry should happen to overhear either phrase uttered, he “will have a visceral reaction.

It is apparent that the Trump administration has issued orders to propagandize the American people into believing that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas and has no impact on hastening the warming climate. It is the only explanation why Rick Perry would make such an easily debunked claim on “live national television.” As Robin Andrews noted at IFLScience, Rick Perry may not be as idiotic as the Pennsylvania state senator who claimedhuman body heat” is driving climate change,  but he is very close. Sadly for America, the population is just stupid enough that if the Trump team continues saying something loud and often enough, it doesn’t matter how absurd the claims, people will believe it – unless they successfully completed the seventh grade.

 

The World Is Laughing At You Trump – Not America

 

Donald Trump is, all at once, a laughingstock, a pathological liar, a dangerous malignant narcissist, and a childish know-nothing bully that is an embarrassment to every decent American. And contrary to his deep-seated belief, Donald Trump is not representative of what Americans stand for as a civilized people. Oh sure, he symbolizes every filthy trait rampant among a certain ‘class’ of his kind of ugly American, but he does not represent, and is not “America.” Collectively, the American people are hundreds-of-orders of magnitude better, smarter, more ethical and moral than Trump and it is a glaring fact he is incapable of comprehending due to his severely “toxic malignant narcissism;”  a diagnosis that literally scores of psychological experts have warned he suffers.

Trump exposed that danger to America and the world when he did as predicted by anyone with a brain and announced that because he considers climate change a Chinese hoax concocted to destroy America’s economy, he was unilaterally pulling America out of the landmark planet-wide effort to combat climate change, the Paris Climate Accord. It is noteworthy that Trump’s imagined Chinese hoax is supported by 194 other nations that signed the “Accord” because they see the results of global warming and understand the value of science; the exact opposite of the imbecile Trump and his 16th Century religious mindset in opposition to science. Trump embraces idiotic conspiracy theories and mythos; it is no wonder the entire world is laughing at Trump.

During his announcement he was withdrawing America from the climate accord, Trump made a statement that belies any claim that he has even a clue about how the rest of the world regards him. Dumb Donnie said:

It would once have been unthinkable that an international agreement could prevent the United States from conducting its own domestic affairs. At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country? We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore. And they won’t be.”

According to Trump, it appears he believes 194 nations have joined the “Chinese hoax” to destroy America’s economy and now, through Paris, are attacking the sovereignty of the United States of America. That delusion is part of his belief that the rest of the world is conspiring to hinder his ability to “reshape the nation’s environmental laws” in ways that take America back to the early 20th Century. To answer Trump’s rhetorical query about at what point do they start laughing at us as a country; “they” are already laughing and “they” are all laughing at you, dirty Donald Trump. They are not laughing at “us as a country” and if anything they feel pity for a nation that once had a semblance of respectability.

As the New York Times noted, Trump abandoning the agreement to save Earth’s environment signed by 195 nations “is a remarkable rebuke to heads of state, climate activists, corporate executives and closest advisers in his own staff who all failed to change his mind with an intense, last-minute lobbying blitz.”

The Paris accord had nothing to do with 194 countries “demeaning America” or putting “Paris over Pittsburgh.” Its sole intent was to bind the world community into a force to battle rising temperatures in concert; no doubt the exit of the planet’s second-largest polluter is a major blow. And, it was a blow that didn’t garner support or laughter from world leaders or corporate heads or high-level members of Trump’s administration; even President Barack Obama weighed in:

The [194] nations that remain in the Paris agreement will be the nations that reap the [economic] benefits in jobs and industries created. 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.

Right on cue, a bevy of business leaders, cities, and states stepped up and assured the rest of the civilized world that they were going forward with their efforts to save the climate. California has already taken up a global leadership role as surrogate for America and is leading the battle against climate change, and waging war against imbecile-in-chief Donald Trump.

Elsewhere around the nation, an as yet unnamed group of 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses is in negotiations with the United Nations to have its submission accepted alongside contributions to the Paris climate deal by other nations. No Trump, the rest of the world isn’t laughing at “us,” they are laughing at and are repulsed by you and everything you stand for.

Three of the nation’s top business leaders stepped up and condemned Trump’s idiotic action as a “decision that will harm the economy.” That was the well-founded assessment of Wall Street’s Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs. Joining President Obama’s claim, Blankfein said Trump’s moronic decision will ultimately harm the economy “by ceding the jobs of the future in clean energy and technology to overseas competitors;” competitors like China that sees its best opportunity ever to be the new global leader as America regresses into a second-rate isolationist state.

Tesla’s Elon Musk, who had at one time agreed to be a member of two business-related councils Trump set up earlier this year, told the world he was leaving both panels after Trump’s announcement. Mr. Musk took to Trump’s favorite media outlet, Twitter, to say right after Trump’s announcement:

Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.

I.B.M released an official company statement after Trump’s announcement reaffirming its ardent support for the Paris agreement; the mammoth corporation also took issue with Trump’s assertion that it was a bad deal for American workers and the American economy. The company said:

This agreement requires all participating countries to put forward their best efforts on climate change as determined by each country. I.B.M. believes that it is easier to lead outcomes by being at the table, as a participant in the agreement, rather than from outside it.”

The chairman and chief executive of General Electric, Jeffrey R. Immelt, also used “the Twitter” to express his “disappointment” with the stupid Trump decision and ‘tweeted’Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.”

Trump is an idiot and the world is laughing at him and loathes everything he stands for – including a decision that will impact the entire world. Although his idiotic base may fall for his conspiracy theory reasoning, the rest of the civilized world and civilized Americans join business leaders, state and city leaders, and “responsible citizens” who understand that climate change is real and that without a concerted world effort, like the Paris Climate Accord, the battle to save the climate is in jeopardy because the second-highest carbon polluter refuses to join a world-wide effort.

To make the point that the world does not either laugh at America or blame them for the idiocy coming out of the White House, French President Emmanuel Macron said what even dimwits have to understand – Trump is making a huge mistake. He then extended an offer to the American people. President Macron said in English:

Tonight, I wish to tell the United States: France believes in you, the world believes in you. I know that you are a great nation. I know your history, our common history. To all scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, responsible citizens who were disappointed by the decision of the president of the United States, I want to say that they will find in France a second home.”

At a time when every new day brings a new reason to be embarrassed to be an American because the maniac in the White House is a know-nothing laughingstock, it is reassuring to learn that the rest of the world is not, as Trump claims, laughing at “us” Americans. They are laughing at you Donald Trump – you tiny-handed psychotic sadist.

California Is Emerging As A Global Leader Against Climate Change and Trump

 

 

Now that the imbecile Donald Trump embarrassed Americans while in Europe and gave every indication he would single-handedly make America’s word worth less than dirt, a story that was sparsely reported last week is increasingly important; for the entire world’s population. Anyone who hasn’t been comatose over the past year-and-a-half likely knows that Trump and his administration are climate deniers; Trump says global climate change is a Chinese hoax. But while Trump refused to join leaders of the G7 nations in pledging to go forward with the Paris Climate Accord, California is “becoming a global force” to battle climate change, and Trump.

Last month in San Francisco environmental ministers of Canada and Mexico signed a global pact drafted largely by California to reduce greenhouse pollution responsible for climate change. Next month, California’s governor, Jerry Brown, will be heading to China to meet with climate leaders as part of a “global” campaign to curb global warming.

Besides becoming America’s “de facto” negotiator with the rest of the world on the environment, the Golden State is preparing to wage war against Trump and his attempt to abolish California’s environmental standards and pollution rules because Republicans detest “states’ rights;” particularly if they conflict with the oil industry. That being the case, California has “a battery of state lawyers” preparing to do battle and thwart “any attempt by Trump and Republicans to weaken California’s automobile pollution emission standards.” In fact, as the New York Times reported,

The state is pushing back on everything from White House efforts to roll back pollution rules on tailpipes and smokestacks, to plans to withdraw or weaken the United States’ commitments under the Paris climate change accord.”

Governor Jerry Brown said regarding California’s new role as surrogate for an America with an environmental conscience:

I want to do everything we can to keep America on track, keep the world on track, and lead in all the ways California has. We’re looking to do everything we can to advance our program, regardless of whatever happens in Washington.”

California’s efforts are not going unnoticed around the globe, either. One Nobel Laureate in science who advises several nations on climate change policy, Mario Molina, said:

With Trump indicating that he will withdraw from climate change leadership, the rest of the global community is looking to California, as one of the world’s largest economies, to take the lead. California demonstrates to the world that you can have a strong climate policy without hurting your economy.”

It is noteworthy that California is the 6th largest economy in the world and has led the nation, and often the world, in protecting the environment and its citizens’ health while its economy continues to flourish; the New York Times rightly labeled California an “economic powerhouse.” And it is worth repeating, the state has provided a model for other states, and the nation, that very robust environmental protections and regulations have had the opposite economic effects than the doom and gloom, job-killing devastation claimed by Trump and Republicans. California’s annual economic output is approximately $2.4 trillion indeed making one American state a global economic powerhouse and one progressive state the world’s leaders want to work with; especially to save the planet’s environment.

Although California is under Democratic control, its environmental efforts cross party lines and that includes Herculean climate efforts by former governor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. Although Mr. Schwarzenegger’s economic expertise is often criticized, during his eight-year tenure he did lead the state in developing the most aggressive pollution-control programs in the nation; he has also taken a leading role as one of Trump’s biggest Republican critics on his lack of a climate policy.

Mr. Schwarzenegger wasn’t the first Republican governor to champion a cleaner environment and strong pollution regulations. For well over three decades the Golden State “has been at the vanguard of environmental policy, passing ambitious, first-in-the-nation measures on pollution control and conservation that have often served as models for national and even international environmental law.” That model is what Trump and his climate-denying cohort want to put an immediate end to.

Trump has already made moves to reduce federal auto emission standards that were influenced by California’s tougher standards because when automakers met with Trump, they complained bitterly that federal standards forced them to build expensive electric vehicles that consumers do not want. This battle is also going to center around concerns that Trump will direct the E.P.A will revoke a waiver issued by Republican President Richard Nixon allowing California to “set fuel economy standards exceeding federal requirements.” Doubtless the auto makers and oil industry contend that drivers also do not want automobiles that get better mileage; they also desperately want to “stop the spread of electric cars.”

California is not intimidated by Trump and is preparing for a legal challenge according to the state’s attorney general Xavier Becerra. “You have to be concerned when anybody talks about going backward. In this case we think we have a strong case to be made based on the facts and the history.”

The state’s Senate leader, Kevin de Leon, is also not intimidated by the Trump and earlier this month introduced legislation that accelerates, rather than retrench, the state’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The legislation requires that by 2045 100 percent of “retail electricity in the state comes from renewable sources.” Mr. de Leon said “it is important that we send a signal to the rest of the world” at a time of what he explained “was blowback from Washington” with an idiot anti-environment administration reverting to policies that helped create global climate change.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger said, everything about Trump is taking the nation backwards and his non-existent climate polices are “a threat to the planet.” Arnold continued,

Saying you’ll bring coal plants back is the past. It’s like saying you’ll bring Blockbuster back, which is the past. Horses and buggies, which is the past. Pagers back, which is the past.”

As the data show, Arnold reminded the Trump and his fellow Republicans that California is the shining example of a state that can adopt and implement “aggressive environmental policies without hurting the economy. We’re outdoing the rest of the country on G.D.P.”

Of course Trump and his anti-environment cohort will never cite California’s success and instead have attempted to frame the issue as California attempting to control the rest of the nation and the world. Trump’s bible-thumping E.P.A. chief, Scott Pruitt, a champion of state’s rights when it comes to gun proliferation and imposing religious laws,  said Governor Brown is “is being the aggressor” with strong state environmental regulations. And he said that Trump’s anti-environmental regulations effort is solely meant “to lift the oppressive yoke of federal regulations and return authority to the states;” but only if the oil and automobile industry approve.

At a time when the rest of the world is shaking their collective heads at the anti-science climate denying moron in the White House, and reaffirming their commitment to move forward in the collective fight to slow the advance of anthropogenic climate change, they can no longer look to America for leadership; a role California is already fulfilling.

Three Senate Republicans Defect In a Blow To Trump And Koch Brothers

In what was a surprise bit of encouraging news this week while the country was witnessing obstruction of justice in the White House, three Senate Republicans joined Democrats to hand Donald Trump, the Koch brothers, and their fossil fuel cohort what is being called a stunning defeat. It has been well-documented that one of Trump’s major goals was repealing each and every one of President Barack Obama’s efforts to protect the American people, the environment, national security, and to encourage big oil to stop wasting energy. Three Republican Senators stymied Trump’s crusade this week in a victory for the environment and Americans’ well-being.

The Senate was attempting to do Trump’s and the Koch brothers’ bidding in repealing a late Obama-era limit on methane emissions from oil and gas production on federal lands. The gift to the fossil fuel industry was blocked due to the “defection” of Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The three Republicans joined Democrats to defeat a barely-passed House resolution in February to “repeal the methane leak rule.” It is difficult to comprehend what kind of cretins would even consider abolishing a rule that prevents a nasty greenhouse gas, and threat to human health, like methane from being deliberately leaked into the atmosphere.

That rule was “issued” last November was an update to a 30-year old regulation meant to “govern” the deliberate leaking and venting of natural gases such as methane. Methane is known to be a particularly “potent greenhouse gas” responsible for contributing to anthropogenic climate change. It is a common energy industry, primarily the fossil fuel industry, practice to “burn off vast supplies of methane gas at drilling sites” because it is not as profitable to sell as oil. The rule specifically targeted drilling sites on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property to prevent “methane waste” that Trump and the oil industry claims is far too strict of a regulation on the poor beleaguered oil industry.

The Senate, like the House, had been assisting Trump, and rewarding the Kochs, in their goal to halt federal oversight of the drilling industry using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to both abolish current regulations and prevent them from ever being implemented in the future. Trump had been on a “repeal” roll since taking office and has signed 13 different CRA resolutions to eliminate President Obama’s environmental regulations. It is noteworthy that prior to Trump’s “scorched Earth” effort to roll back environmental regulations, that 1996 CRA law was only used “just once before Trump” became president. Trump is a dirty hypocrite because he and his Republican cabal complained bitterly and condemned a real President, Barack Obama, for executive overreach in issuing new rules to protect the people and environment.

Republicans, and Trump as well, have touted their fossil fuel deregulatory crusade as a means to American energy independence and an effort to provide Americans with plentiful and cheap fuel for electricity generating plants. However, the amount of methane burned off into the atmosphere each year from drilling operations is more than enough to provide electricity for about three-quarters-of-a-million (740,000) American homes. When the amount of natural gas that is leaked, or burned off, is included, those wasted gases would power about 5 million American homes each year.

The resolution to repeal the limit on toxic gas leaks had incredible support from Senate Republican leadership as well as the Koch brothers’ oil and gas industry. That support included “a six-figure, multimedia advertising campaign that targeted reluctant Republican lawmakers” that have thus far resisted aiding Trump’s childish and moronic denial of climate change. The oil and gas industry had made pressuring the Trump administration to eliminate the BLM rule one of its highest priorities and one they wanted accomplished immediately.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, John Barrasso (R-WY) not only supported the House-passed resolution to “kill the rule,” he appealed to Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to circumvent the normal congressional legislative process and just revoke the methane leak rule unilaterally. But as Reuters has reported, a dictatorial edict by the Interior Secretary would have “involved a laborious bureaucratic process” that would have been “ultimately vulnerable to legal action” from environmental groups and concerned citizens.

The Republican Representative who sponsored the House legislation, Utah Mormon and anti-federal land crusader Rob Bishop is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee who said Republicans in the Senate had “no rational reason not to vote for it.” Earlier this year, Bishop told The Hill on learning that Lindsey Graham was reluctant to support the repeal; “Senator Graham doesn’t live in the West, and doesn’t understand these issues, clearly.” What Senator Graham does understand, unlike a frightening number of Republicans, is that climate change is a real and present danger and any effort to reduce emissions exacerbating it are worthwhile for the sake of the economy, people’s health, the environment and national security.

The issues are not about oil industry gas leaks and Bishop knows it. The issues for Republicans, particularly Utah Republicans, is their outrageous insistence that the federal government has no right to own land it purchased or regulate its use. This is particularly true in Western states like Utah and it was the primary reason for the so-called Bundy Standoff in Nevada.

Senator John McCain, a Republican who does live in and represent constituents in “the West” gave Mormon Rob Bishop a very clear and rational reason why he joined Democrats to shut down the Kochs’ repeal effort. Senator McCain said,

While I am concerned that the BLM rule may be onerous, passage of the resolution would have prevented the federal government, under any administration, from ever issuing a rule that is similar.”

While the oil and gas industry and its Republican puppets were demoralized and angry that one of their efforts to increase the damage from climate change was thwarted, environmental groups were pleasantly surprised. The Executive Director of the Sierra Club, Michael Brune responded to the Senate vote and said:

Today is a victory for our public lands and for the health of families across America, and a defeat for Donald Trump, corporate polluters, and their friends on Capitol Hill. People across the country will continue to resist and hold Congress and Trump accountable for any efforts to put the profits of polluters before the health of our families and our communities.”

It is likely there won’t be many instances that any Republican will oppose Trump’s, the Koch’s, or their fossil fuel industry cohort’s efforts to wipe out sane regulations to combat climate change, preserve energy, or protect the health and well-being of American citizens. But whatever the reason Senators McCain, Collins, and Graham stood up to Trump, the Kochs, and fossil fuel industry, it is an encouraging sign that there are at least three Republicans who understand that they cannot fulfill their mandate to work for the general welfare of the American people and still pander to the Koch brothers’ oil industry. In this particular instance McCain, Graham and Collins opted to protect the people and in these dark times even one Republican, much less three, opting to serve the people is worth celebrating. It may be a long slog before it ever happens again.

Corporate Giants Reject Trump – Recommit To President Obama’s Climate Policies

 

 

There is reason some of the largest corporations in the world are the largest corporations in the world and a good reason why they are highly successful and profitable. Because they are so successful, they tend to base business decisions on reality, and where applicable, sound science whether it is the science of economics or the climate. They certainly don’t make business decisions on what they imagine to be true or false, but that is what General Electric’s CEO Jeff Immelt stated Donald Trump is basing his war on the climate and environment on.

GE CEO Immelt said that Trump’s “imagination is at work” if he doesn’t believe in climate change science or the Paris agreement that President Barack Obama signed onto before he left office. Mr. Immelt said that GE  is going forward with the corporate giant’s plan to fight climate change and wants to lead the corporate world to in the war to slow global climate change. And, Mr. Immelt called on other corporate giants to “step up to fill the void that the [Trump] administration is leaving behind.”

Companies must be resilient and learn to adjust to political volatility all over the world. Companies must have their own ‘foreign policy’ and create technology and solutions that address local needs for our customers and society.”

Mr. Immelt’s comments were aimed at the Trump’s executive orderrolling back Obama-era energy regulations.” Mr. Immelt said that the General Electric’s incorporation of green technology was made in response to “well accepted” climate change science. He also said the corporate giant’s implementation of green technologies  has already had a “demonstrable effect both on environmental protection and on improving company profits.”

We believe climate change should be addressed on a global basis through multi-national agreements, such as the Paris Agreement. We hope that the United States continues to play a constructive role in furthering solutions to these challenges, and at GE, we will continue to lead with our technology and actions.”

According to a report in Bloomberg Politics, Mr. Immelt’s intent for GE to lead with technology and actions is going to be a monumentally concerted effort with “some of America’s biggest corporations already vowing to stick to the environmental pledges they made to President Obama.

For example, Walmart, has already vowed to get half of its power from renewable energy sources by 2025 and it is as more of a profit-oriented decision than it is an effort to combat climate change and protect the environment; although that is part of the goal. A Walmart spokesman, Kevin Gardner said:

This work is embedded in our business. [It’s] good for the business, our shareholders, and customers; if ultimately we are able to positively impact the environment in the process, that’s a win too.”

Walmart is joined by the largest beer company in the world, Anheuser-Busch InBev, that pledged the day after Trump’s executive order dismantling environmental protections “to get 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.”

Mars Inc, went even farther and pledged to “eliminate its emissions altogether by 2040;” a lofty goal indeed but one that can be achieved. The vice president of Mars Inc.’s corporate affairs, Andy Pharoah, said the candy giant is “disappointed the [Trump] administration has decided to roll back climate regulations.”

Some of the other corporate giants who pledged to stick to “the climate change promises they made to the Obama Administration;” Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Ikea, Levi Strauss & Co., and Best Buy are completely rejecting the Trump plan tp abandon environmental protections. Those corporate behemoths were joined by some seriously powerful corporate leaders who took the time to issue a joint statement in response to the Trump’s executive order wiping out President Obama’s efforts to combat climate change.

The world’s leading technology corporations Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, wrote jointly that:

We believe that strong clean energy and climate policies, like the Clean Power Plan, can make renewable energy supplies more robust and address the serious threat of climate change while also supporting American competitiveness, innovation, and job growth.”

As Columbia Business School Professor Geoffrey M. Heal explained to Bloomberg Politics, “Most big companies in the U.S. recognize that climate change is real. They need to move ahead on the climate change front no matter what Trump’s government does.”

Trump claimed that dismantling climate change policies of the Obama Administration is what corporations and the people wanted and that “My action today is the latest in steps to grow American jobs.” However, that doesn’t square with what some of the largest corporations in America, and the world, are saying and likely why they are rejecting, as GE CEO Immelt said “Trump’s imagination at work.”

America’s largest corporations do believe in climate change science and that President Obama’s environmental policies not only “demonstrably effect environmental protection, [they] go a long way towards improving corporate profits.”