Although it’s been reported Republicans secretly complain about Donald Trump’s incompetence and ignorance of decorum, it’s important to understand Republicans have been waiting decades for a president like Trump.
While it’s true he’s crude, clumsy, and calamitous, Trump is also ideologically vacuous and amoral enough to unquestioningly support libertarian policies former president Ronald Reagan famously laid bare when he announced during his first inaugural address, “Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.”
This has been the Republican party mantra for the past forty years.
Since then we have been subjected to record levels of corporate deregulation, Wall Street excess, environmental degradation, and federal agency dismantling.
Both parties are guilty to an extent.
100% of the Republican party is.
One of the most aggressive deregulation campaigns Republicans wage is against the environment.
Being the party most awash in fossil fuel money, Republicans know Trump’s anti-science crusade is their best shot at smashing and grabbing whatever profits they can before a Democrat gets back into the White House and re-enrolls us in the Paris Climate Accords, or even does something truly progressive like supporting the Green New Deal.
The assault continues even as the United States leads the world in preventable coronavirus/COVID-19 cases.
This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a rule exempting chemical companies from reporting noxious perfluorinated chemicals (PFAS) released into the environment.
Last year, Congress directed the EPA to compel manufacturers to report 100 pounds or more of PFAS chemicals annually released into waterways.
However, the EPA ’s new regulation would permit manufacturers to circumvent that requirement if no single PFAS chemical in a mixture released exceeds 1% of the total amount.
The agency has also decided to forego public comment, a typical part of the finalizing procedure.
The current EPA administrator is Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who fought Obama-era environmental regulations.
Two year ago, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulators decreed they would no longer rigidly enforce emissions standards for cars and trucks, arguing the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan timeline is not appropriate and standards are “too high.”
In April, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the EPA unveiled a rule requiring automakers increase their new vehicle fleets’ average fuel economy by 1.5 percent every year through their 2026 model year lineups to arrive at a 40-mile-per-gallon average, a move expected to pump into the atmosphere a billion metric tons more carbon dioxide.
In November, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Donald Trump sent a letter to the United Nations initiating the Paris Climate Accord withdrawal process, set to be completed November 4–one day after the 2020 presidential election.
Collapsing ecosystems impact all life, not just “insignificant” forms.
In 2018, Andrew Wheeler’s predecessor, Scott Pruitt was personally involved in purging information about climate change from the EPA website and replacing it with sites promoting Donald Trump’s fossil fuel agenda.
Two years ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released an alarming report stating the world has 12 years–now ten–to halt coal consumption and slash carbon dioxide emissions to prevent the atmosphere from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (34.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels.
Last week, Fatih Birol, International Energy Agency executive director, warned the world has only six months to prevent a post-coronavirus lockdown greenhouse gas emissions rebound threatening to prevent efforts to mitigate climate catastrophe.
Even a half-degree increase puts us on track to experience more hurricanes, coastline inundation, floods, wildfires, drought, food shortages, mass human and animal migrations, and ecocide.
International borders, economies, food and water supplies, health, education, transportation, energy sources, are all predicted to change with the climate as the planet warms faster than scientists predicted.
Another casualty on the list: democracy.
In what is being labeled “climate apartheid,” the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights warned climate change’s impacts are likely to undermine democracy and the rule of law in addition to basic rights to life, water, food, and housing for hundreds of millions.
Ecocide is already underway, putting society at extreme risk, according to a recent 1,800-page United Nations (UN) global assessment Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IBPES) report more than 450 scientists and diplomats took over three years to compile from 15,000 academic studies and reports.
According to Michael Mann, esteemed Pennsylvania State University professor and director of the Earth Science Systems Science Center, the IPCC’s assessment is actually conservative, underestimating the amount of warming that has already occurred.
We actually have less carbon left to burn if we wish to avoid the 1.5-degree Celsius threshold the IPCC report cites.
We have already passed too many tipping points to avoid some of the climate’s most devastating effects, and many scientists theorize the world has begun a sixth mass extinction.
Yet there is still hope as long as we heed the experts’ advice.
The question is, will we?
Or will we continue doubling down on a smash-and-grab strategy to extract every drop of fossil fuels the planet can yield for pure profit?