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Trump re-elected would mean unsafe climate for the world, democracy’s end in USA

Four more years of Trump would leave democracy, and hope for a safe climate, in tatters

From the perspective of the human species as a whole, the arc of its life on this planet, it may be the most important election ever.

A second Trump term would mean severe and irreversible changes in the climate No joke: It would be disastrous on the scale of millennia. VOX, By David Roberts@drvoxdavid@vox.com  Aug 27, 2020,  I f Donald Trump is reelected president, the likely result will be irreversible changes to the climate that will degrade the quality of life of every subsequent generation of human beings, with millions of lives harmed or foreshortened. That’s in addition to the hundreds of thousands of lives at present that will be hurt or prematurely end.

This sounds like exaggeration, some of the “alarmism” green types are always accused of. But it is not particularly controversial among those who have followed Trump’s record on energy and climate change……..

………..a Trump victory would make any reasonable definition of “success” on climate change impossible….

More Trump will ensure the continued escalation of global temperatures

We know from the latest IPCC report that the climate target agreed to by nations — no more than a 2° Celsius rise in global average temperatures — is not a “safe” threshold at all. Going from 1.5° to 2° means many more heat waves, wildfires, crop failures, migrations, and premature deaths. We know that every fraction of a degree beyond 2° means more still, along with the increasing risk of tipping points that make further warming unstoppable.

Hitting the 1.5° target would require the world to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2030 and to net zero by 2050. Doing so would require industrial mobilization beginning immediately. Even hitting 2° would be desperately difficult at this point. There is no longer any time for delay; this is the last decade in which it is still possible.

We know that the US doing its part to reach net zero by 2050 would not be enough, in itself, to limit global temperature rise. By the same token, we know it is wildly unlikely that the rest of the world will be able to organize to meet that goal without US leadership. And in the face of active US undermining and opposition, it will be all but impossible.

Climate policy is complicated, but in the end, it comes down to replacing everything powered by fossil fuels with zero-carbon alternatives, and we know beyond any doubt that the Trump administration is devoted to the interests of its allies in the fossil fuel industry. Everything the administration has done since taking office reflects a single-minded zeal to release fossil fuel industries from regulatory restraints and to subsidize them through public policy.

US carbon emissions have been declining, down roughly 12 percent since 2004. That’s almost entirely due to the market-driven decline of coal in the electricity sector, a trend that analysts expect to continue. The Trump administration disingenuously takes credit for it. But it won’t be enough, on its own, to reduce emissions fast enough to stay on track for net zero by 2050. Not even close…..

Trump has steadily rolled back regulations on fossil fuel companies

“When I think about the horrors of a Trump term two, I think about lock-in of domestic policies,” says Sam Ricketts of Evergreen Action, “buttressed — and in places even made permanent — by his continuing to stack the courts.”

In his first term, Trump has blocked, weakened, or rolled back 100 environmental, public health, and worker safety regulations. Among them are virtually all the steps Obama took to address climate change, from the Clean Power Plan for the electricity sector to tighter fuel economy standards for transportation, emissions standards on methane for oil and gas operations, efforts to integrate a “social cost of carbon” for agency decision-making, reform of fossil fuel leasing on public land, and energy efficiency standards on light bulbs. (Trump also wants to go after toilets and showerheads.)

Every one of those decisions would have the effect of increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmentalists have sued over all of them, and thus far, Trump has lost more cases than he has won. Many of the rule changes pushed through by his agencies are being rejected by courts for being rushed and shoddy.

Given another term, Trump’s agencies will have more time to fill out those arguments and resubmit those rules; almost any rule can be justified eventually. Meanwhile, the federal bench will be packed with more sympathetic Trump appointees ready to rubber-stamp those rules.

And if federal judges object, the administration can appeal the cases to the Supreme Court, where Trump will almost certainly have had the opportunity to replace a justice or two. With a solid 6-3 or 7-2 majority on the Court, virtually anything the administration wants will end up being approved……….

The Trump administration is stacking the deck to advantage fossil fuels

Aside from all the rules the administration has eviscerated, is eviscerating, and plans to eviscerate, it is also pushing several changes to agency procedures that will make it more difficult to regulate in the future.

Under administrator Andrew Wheeler, the EPA has proposed to alter the way it does cost-benefit analysis to exclude consideration of a rule’s “co-benefits” — reductions in other pollutants that come as a side effect of reducing targeted pollutants. (A coalition of environmental groups has opposed the change, which violates EPA precedent, statutory intent, and common sense.) If the change goes into effect — as it surely will given another term and friendlier courts — all future air quality rules will be weakened.

The EPA has also promulgated a “secret science rule” that would exclude from consideration a wide swath of studies demonstrating the danger of air pollution (including its danger in helping spread Covid-19). Without those studies to rely on, justifying public health regulations would be more difficult going forward. The EPA’s own independent board of science advisers said the change would “reduce scientific integrity” at the agency.

Speaking of independent science advisers, starting under Pruitt, the EPA began pushing out science advisers who had received grants from the agency (which includes most of them) and replacing them with fossil fuel cronies. Amusingly, even a science board packed with Trump appointees has said that three of the agency’s major recent rule changes flew in the face of established science. Still, given another term to finish the job, Wheeler could effectively eliminate independent scientific review at the agency.

The administration has also gutted the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), which requires the federal government to rigorously assess the effects of its actions on the environment and local communities, and is one of the principal avenues through which communities of color and other vulnerable communities communicate their interests to the federal government.

In July, the White House Council on Environmental Quality released a proposed rule that would dramatically limit the range of federal agency actions to which NEPA applies, limit consideration of cumulative and indirect impacts (like climate change and environmental justice), and curtail public involvement in the decision-making process and judicial review. Given another term to see the change through, the White House could shape every major federal agency decision going forward.

The administration is also trying to revoke California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act, which allows the state to set its own (typically more ambitious) emissions standards. If it succeeds, it would sabotage not only California’s standards but those of the 13 states (and Washington, DC) that have adopted them……….

Land, water, and wildlife are also getting the shaft

I’ve mostly been focusing on the EPA and energy, but Trump’s damage is omnidirectional.

Earlier this year, the administration gutted Obama’s Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule, removing pollution protections from a wide swathe of wetlands and streams……..

Trump’s foreign policy is entirely devoted to fossil fuels

Promoting fossil fuels has been one of the few consistent themes of Trump’s foreign policy.

He announced early on, amid a flurry of misinformation, that the US would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. (That decision will go into effect on November 5.) Though some State Department staffers are still attending international climate meetings and participating in lower-level dialogues, top US leadership has spurned the entire process and shows no sign of reengaging.

Instead, Trump is trying to manage oil prices by making deals with cartels, bullying other countries to buy US oil, seeking to export liquid natural gas to India, and jostling with Russia and China over trade routes through the melting Arctic.

In a second term, Trump is unlikely to rejoin Paris; he’s much more likely to remove the US from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change entirely. It is an open question whether the Paris framework could survive that at all.

Four more years of Trump would leave democracy, and hope for a safe climate, in tatters

The above constitutes a highly selective list, a small portion of the damage Trump has done to climate and energy progress across federal agencies and international agreements. There are plenty of other examples to cite, including his beloved trade wars, which he will undoubtedly expand in a second term. A recent analysis found that his solar tariffs to date have cost 62,000 jobs in the solar industry and blocked 10.5 gigawatts of new solar from coming online. (If you can stomach a more comprehensive list, check out this piece from the Global Current.)

The main bulwark against Trump’s changes so far has been the courts, but that bulwark will not hold against an administration with four more years to bolster its legal cases and appoint sympathetic judges………

There’s no sugarcoating it: If Trump wins the election and Republicans keep the Senate, democracy in America might not survive. At the very least, any hope of public policy to rapidly decarbonize the US is off the table. The US will push actively in the opposite direction. …….

It is a cliché by now to call this the most important election of our lifetimes, but even that dramatic phrasing doesn’t capture the stakes. From the perspective of the human species as a whole, the arc of its life on this planet, it may be the most important election ever.  https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2020/8/27/21374894/trump-election-second-term-climate-change-energy-russia-china

August 29, 2020 - Posted by | climate change, election USA 2020

1 Comment »

  1. Abe is gone but fukushima and the old beatup reactors in japan, usa, russia, s korea, europe are not. 10s of thousands of nuke weapons. millions of tons of nuke waste.
    There are 96 old reactors most older than 30 yo. now  they are almost completelely  un supervised, because of trump. few have backup generators that work.. none have been reinforced since fukushima . many like san onofre and Columbia generating project by hanford are in bad earthquake zones and hurricane zones.

    2-3 hurricanes and tropicals storm has hit the gulf coast and florida every uear for 6 year close.to.nukes in teir.south and.east
    Nukes have huge fuel pools. A hurricane a year in the east coast.

    There are several nukes on the gulf cost, east coast , on the florida coast. Grave hurricane risks now w global warming. Grave flooding risks in the midwest nukes.

    Years of hi level waste accumlated by them. There are holes in the containment.Like at fermi and Ohio.

    They are beatup and old. They have holes in them. Little backup. Rusted.old diesel genrators that do not work.
    They have years of hi level waste by them, that can catch fire easy. Each reactor and fuel pool site, will put the equivalent-fallout,  of 10 or 20 thousand dirty nuke bombs into the atmosphere of the usa, if there is a major nuke catastrophe at those facilities.

    The biosphere cannot take much more of this. One of the-reactors at fukushima was a mox-mixed oxide plutonium-uranium reactor. It had tons.of.mox in it that went into the biosphere when it had a nuclear explosion.  It was a nuclear explosion. They lie about that happening, at nuke plants. There was also a fuel fire . Criticalities  happened at Chernobyl and sellafield

    A  hurricane damaged rezctor at brunswick, a few years ago in carolina.

    There have been three major nuclear catastrophes since trump came in , along w the ongoing fukushima fiasco.

    1. There was The santa susana radionuclide wildfire,  in ventura that recontaminated malibu, ventura and n la.

    2. The inl Idaho National Laboratory-pyrophic  radionuclide wilde fire  burnt up 900, 000 acre of land with 50 old reactors and massive amts of nuclear waste.  Hi level radionuclides just  burned into the air.

    3. The nuclear missile-atomic explosion in russia, was cause by trump abrogating nuclear treaties and supercharging the nuclear arms race.

    If even 10 nuclear bombs senpnated in the wprld ot would destabalize and set off dozens of beat up reactors around the world. The fallout, will be the equivalent of 500,000 bombs. That will be it for life on earth.

    Helen caldicott recently put up an article on twtter about how low level radiation increases cardiovascular damage across the board in men.Tough hard times. covid19 heart damage. cesium 137. horrible.diets. genome instability.

    Democrats Must Demolish Trump’s Delusional Law-Breaking Dystopia
    By Ralph Nader

    The daily tweeting, lying King, the man who boasted about abusing women, and behaving as a sexual predator, is a ruler who brings out the worst from this country. Trump deliberately divides America and stokes conflict and disruption. Trump is a reality denier and chaotic bungler who is aiding and abetting the climate crisis and preventing scientists and public health managers from controlling COVID-19, the cause of the worst global pandemic in our lifetimes. He is also blocking relief for a crashing economy and still escapes accountability.
    The ohio nuke reactor debacle.
    The Democrats are not matching Trump’s own or his Party’s propaganda. In 2004, author, and former prominent Republican political analyst Kevin Phillips, argued that the Democrats go for the capillaries while the GOP goes for the jugular. By not going full force against dictator Trump, the Democrats are not overwhelmingly countering the most criminally, unconstitutionally culpable, vulnerable, and dislikable president in US history. With just over two months until the November 3rd election, a strong, independent, civic drive to oppose and vote out Trump/Pence is required. Standing on the sidelines hoping that the Democrats will retire the failed gambling czar didn’t work in 2016 and it won’t work in 2020 either.
    reprinted w permission of Ralph Nader common cause

    Comment by ken r | August 30, 2020 | Reply


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