You may have heard that Trump said something pretty outrageous this week. Anyone with a TV or an internet connection has heard that Trump attacked Mika Brzezinski of Morning Joe, in a petulant and sexist early-morning Twitter tirade.
I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
…to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
But Trump made an announcement this week even more outrageous than this weird bloody fantasy.
On Thursday, June 29th, 2017 President Trump announced his long-suspected plan to destroy the Earth.
Capping off “Energy Week”, Trump gave a speech at the Department of Energy in which he revealed “six new initiatives to propel this new era of American energy Dominance”. The initiatives will likely surprise no one, they involve legacy energy sources like coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy without a mention solar, wind or geothermal.
— Bloomberg (@business) June 29, 2017
Note that we’re now talking about “energy dominance” rather than the old watchword of the Obama years “energy independence”. Obama spent years saying we needed to pursue fracking and natural gas in order to break our dependence on foreign fossil fuels while simultaneously lifting restrictions on natural gas exports. Now Trump, in typical Trump fashion, is continuing Obama’s worst legacies without the veneer of respectability. Trump doesn’t give a damn about “energy independence”, he wants “energy dominance”, which is to say the dominance of the energy market, which is to say he’s just doing this so giant fossil fuel corporations can make money.
Of course, all of this takes place as scientists are telling us we may only have three years to seriously address the climate crisis before it is too late, saying:
Humanity is currently emitting about 41 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide a year, but if the Paris target is to be met it only has a carbon ‘budget’ of between 150 and 1,050 gigatonnes.
“If the current rate of annual emissions stays at this level, we would have to drop them almost immediately to zero once we exhaust the budget. Such a ‘jump to distress’ is in no one’s interest. A more gradual descent would allow the global economy time to adapt smoothly,” the experts wrote.
For the largest economy in the world to be planning, over the next four years, to continue utilizing, and even expanding reliance on fossil fuels could spell the end for a stable climate, and with it civilization as we know it and countless non-human species who had no part in making this mess. The gravity of Trump’s energy “plan” (the speech was short on actual policies) cannot be overstated — pursuing it would be nothing short of a willful attempt to destroy the world.
Yet, while Trump’s weird tweets are discussed ad nauseam by the mainstream media, this chilling declaration got very little attention. Further underscoring the media’s obsession with veneer, compare coverage of this week’s speech with coverage of Trump declaring the US would “exit” the totally-toothless, nonbinding, Paris Climate Accord. One of these is an actual declaration of intent to destroy the Earth, even laying out a general roadmap of how he plans to do it. The other, nothing but political theater, a bone-throw to his anti-globalist base.
The Evil Plan
A big part of Trump’s speech focused on new fossil fuel infrastructure, including a new natural gas pipeline to Mexico, which will go, as he says, “under the wall” (would that be the wall covered in solar panels?). Leaving aside the fact that pipelines leak all the damn time and that this one would be crossing the Rio Grande, which already supports 400 species threatened by extinction, any new infrastructure represents a commitment, not just to current fossil fuel burning but to years or decades of future fossil fuel burning.
Think about the lengths that Energy Transfer Partners went to protect their investments in the, at the time, not-yet-built Dakota Access Pipeline, as reported in The Intercept. The US government and a private corporation teamed up with a private security firm to literally wage war on the Water Protectors as if they were enemy insurgents in a war zone. Now imagine how much harder it will be to stop a fossil fuel corporation from utilizing infrastructure that is already built, that they have spent a lot of money to have built. It will be next to impossible. Capitalism dictates that each and every company involved in the project must get out more money than they put in, and they will continue to use this dangerous, legacy infrastructure until it is no longer profitable to do so, or at least until they have recouped their investment and along with whatever they consider a sufficient profit. If we try to stop them, they’ll call out the dogs.
But Trump’s evil plot goes further than that. He also announced that he is opening up Federal land to coal extraction (never mind that natural gas directly competes with coal so he’s either going to have to boost one or the other, not both) and allowing offshore drilling in formerly protected waters. Not content with just digging up more of the stuff that is causing the end of the world, Trump wants to make sure he maximizes the damage he does to fragile terrestrial ecosystems, endangered species, and the already-on-life-support Oceans while he’s at it.
And while Trump may be technically correct in saying that nuclear energy is “emission free” during power generation (which, why does that matter if climate change is a hoax?), it is not renewable and it is not a viable solution to the climate crisis for more reasons than it would be pertinent to delve into here, but suffice it to say that nuclear energy:
- Is too expensive to make a profit without massive government subsidies
- Requires huge amounts of fossil fuel emissions, concrete, and steel for nuclear plants
- Requires such a long time to build plants and get them up and running that they can’t realistically move us away from fossil fuels in the time needed
- Results in indescribably toxic nuclear waste which no one has figured out how to get rid of and which lasts more than 10,000 years (a length of time equal to the entirety of human history up to now)
- Has a non-zero chance of blowing up destroying every living thing nearby and poisoning many others
He Must Be Stopped
Trump’s evil plan must be stopped. And I don’t mean, “this is outrageous, it must be stopped” like one partisan has said to another since the beginning of politics, I mean something more like “that man is going to kill you unless you stop him, this is not a drill, he must be stopped”. Each of these projects should be resisted using every tool in our toolkit: legislatively, via protest and, especially, through direct action campaigns like at Standing Rock. If we can’t convince them or require them to stop we must use our bodies to physically prevent them from proceeding.
One of the demands of the left and of other truly ecologically-minded activists must be a complete halt to any future fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction. It has become more-or-less common knowledge that if we are going to have any chance of surviving the climate crisis, we cannot even burn the existing stocks of fossil fuel held by energy companies around the world, let alone drill for new ones, this is the idea behind the #KeepItInTheGround campaign. Yet, politicians who pay lip service to climate action continue to fund new projects for fossil fuel extraction and transport. Anyone who tells you they are taking steps to mitigate climate change while drilling for more fossil fuels or building more pipelines or bomb trains to transport them is lying to you, don’t fall for the veneer.
Trudeau’s Canada is the exemplar of this phenomenon, praised as a climate hero while he approves the opposite ends of many of the exact same pipelines Trump is approving (e.g. the Keystone XL) and who literally said “No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them” of the Alberta Tar Sands, the brutal extraction of which is the single biggest industrial project on Earth, and is currently destroying hectares of pristine Boreal forest to dig up the world’s dirtiest fossil fuels. At least Trump is openly evil.
We need to be realistic when we look at the problem of climate change, the global climate doesn’t care what we say about the crisis, and it doesn’t care about “historic” global accords or whether this or that strategy is “politically feasible” it is simply a numbers game — if we put one too many gigatons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere — it’s game over. We have to start treating this less like another partisan issue and more like the existential threat it really is. Our lives really do depend on stopping it.
This article was originally published on Medium.