What Could Be Worse Than Trump Not Listening To His Generals And Intelligence Chiefs?
This one’s pretty simple: according to a joint report out this week by climate scientists at NOAA, which stands for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and is part of the Commerce department, and NASA, which Trump claims to love, last year was the 4th hottest for the planet in history. Just look at the map at the top of this piece.
Only the 4th hottest? That’s not too bad, right? Only the other hottest years were 2016, 2015, and 2017, in that order. You seeing a pattern? That’s good, because Trump isn’t.
As we noted Tuesday night while Trump spent 20% of his speech on illegal alien invaders, he made not one mention of climate change. It’s the “State of the Union”! That’s where Presidents typically brag on their accomplishments for the past year, and display their vision for the next. But, nothing.
Not even a nod to his mocking Tweet asking “What the hell is going on with global warming? Please come back fast, we need you!” last week when the Midwest was in a deep freeze. But after all, it was 73o in Washington on the day of Trump’s address. In early February.
And if you look not at the whole world, just the U.S., the NOAA/NASA report finds there was less change here than almost anyplace else. While the Southeast and Far West were much hotter than normal, the Midwest was about average. Of course, weather has no borders, but if he wanted to — or bothered to pay attention to the report — Trump could actually argue the U.S. is doing a better job at controlling its climate than most other countries. Except for rain. Increased precipitation is a result of higher ocean temperatures. And according to the report, rainfall in the U.S. averaged a whopping 35 inches, nearly 5 inches above normal.
Some environmentalists assert Trump did bring up global warming in his speech when he boasted:
“We have unleashed a revolution in American energy — the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world. And now, for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy.”
We have no problem with that proclamation from the President. It’s important to be energy independent. That way you don’t have to kowtow to Saudi Arabia. (Oh, wait…)
Just a little digression here about something that totally shocked us this week: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox. She questioned him on why Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador has at least not been expelled from D.C., when there’s strong evidence he played a major role in the murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. Here’s what Pompeo said, courtesy of NBC’s David Gura on Twitter:
“You should be careful of the facts that are out there. Not all of them reflect the American understanding of what took place. Second, we know there is an important relationship between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We’re going to do our best to continue to build on that.”
“The American understanding…?” Pardon our language, but WTF?
And going a little further down that road, in a week of bizarre stories, perhaps the most bizarre: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a public post on Medium, accusing the National Enquirer of blackmailing him by threatening via emails to run what it referred to as “below the belt selfie — otherwise colloquially known as a ‘d*ck pick’” (sic) and several other embarrassing photos. Yes, Bezos got it in writing. But it doesn’t end there. Here’s the kicker: Bezos strongly implies that Saudi Arabia had at least something to do with obtaining the information that eventually fell into the hands of the Enquirer. Now why would they do that…?
OK, back to global warming: Trump this week nominated a former oil lobbyist, David Bernhardt, to be his new Secretary of the Interior. He would replace Ryan Zinke, who left under a cloud. That’s the part we’re not too crazy about. And in fact, unless you’re in the oil business, no one should be. The Interior Secretary is in charge of determining how much private drilling will be allowed on federal land, and how rigorously to enforce environmental impact restrictions.
But Trump’s never met a deregulation he doesn’t like, especially when it comes to drilling and mining. And that was part of the State of the Union. And we get it: there is a lot of over-regulation by the federal government in a lot of areas. But not all regulation is over-regulation.
We even think that’s why he appeared to go against his max criminal penalties past and support criminal justice reform: because it too is a form of deregulation, which automatically makes it an easier sell to this President.
If corporations were better citizens, and under less pressure to every quarter continue to deliver better and better returns to their shareholders, the government wouldn’t need all the regulations it has. But fact is, whenever private business has been given free rein to do things right on their own, big business has almost always gone and done it wrong. And it’s true in almost all industries: from Savings and Loans in the 1980s to banks and brokerages in the early 2000s. The example we always come back to is President Nixon’s decision to propose the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. That wasn’t because Nixon was some tree hugging hippie, it was because a river in Ohio caught on fire, and companies all over the place were behaving very, very badly in terms of the environment. Other than giving lip service to the need for “crystal clear water” (we think Trump just likes saying that), Trump seems to be OK with deregulatory excess, as long as it helps companies make money.
He’s also made it very clear he’s not convinced humans have a role in global warming: “I don’t know that it’s man-made” he told “60 Minutes”. And even if they do, it’s too expensive to worry about. And why should America always bear the burden of setting the example anyway, when restrictions on other countries in the Paris Climate Accord (which Trump pulled the U.S. out of), were far less onerous or had far more lenient compliance deadlines?
Our answer to that is because that’s who America is: our corporations have the singular ability to out-innovate and still make money.
In the context of global warming, that would mean leading on alternate forms of energy as a way of ensuring America’s energy independence way into the future. Even if we don’t go as far as the “Green New Deal” being promoted by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, with back-up from some heavy hitters like Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (whom we often refer to as “our favorite Senator”). Here’s a little clip of AOC trying to dispel the myth that climate change isn’t an issue that wins elections:
But don’t expect the President to suddenly start getting on board. He believes government scientists have a “political agenda”. In other words, it’s not about the planet, it’s about him.