At the moment, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s facebook post on Donald Trump is shooting around the net.
While much of the focus is her defining of Trump as “loser”, the fourth paragraph is the most substantively important discussion. In this, Warren elucidates what is at stake in this election:
- Affordable college.
- Accountability for Wall Street.
- Healthcare for millions of Americans.
- The Supreme Court.
- Big corporations and billionaires paying their fair share of taxes.
- Expanded Social Security.
- Investments in infrastructure and medical research and jobs right here in America.
- The chance to turn our back on the ugliness of hatred, sexism, racism and xenophobia.
- The chance to be a better people.
That is, simply, a powerful and (at its core) truthful list. Even so, Senator Warren misses the most critical and fundamentally truthful point:
Electing Donald Trump could well be the final nail on the coffin in averting catastrophic climate chaos.
Simply put, despite concerns about inadequate progress or measures (for, at least, the first term), the vast majority of the U.S. government’s progress on climate change in recent years is attributable to the Obama White House — to President Barack Obama.
A partial list …
- the Clean Power Plan (CPP)
- Executive Order mandates for energy efficiency and clean energy across the Executive Branch
- Military Energy Smart work
- Negotiated agreements with other nations (China, India, Paris, Canada, …)
- Aiding local communities deal with climate change impacts
- Establishing stronger automobile & truck standards (CAFE standards)
- Appliance efficiency standards
- Stopping Keystone XL in its tracks (pipes …)
- Serious scientific work influencing policy discussion
- Engaging businesses to invest in clean energy
- Using the Bully Pulpit to speak to the nation (and the international community)
- etc …
All of this is Administrative action — done in accord with (and in fulfillment of) laws passed by Congress, but Administrative action nonetheless.
Donald Trump is, simply, a climate change denier, a rejector and distorter of basic science. (Nice window: 6 of @RealDonaldTrump tweets on climate change.) The Environmental Protection Agency is at the top of his list for cutting (or, at minimum, alongside the Department of Education).
A simple set of questions:
- What might one expect from a “President Donald Trump” when it comes to climate change?
- Would President Donald Trump reverse Obama Administration progress on the issues above and otherwise?
- Can we afford moving the clock back years or decades?
From record-low Arctic Ice to ever more breaking of record high temperatures (specific dates, month-to-month, annual, …) to catastrophic weather events worsened by climate change to …, the climate change threat is worsening.
We are seeing progress – serious progress – as, for example, energy-related emissions seem to be plateauing and heading for decreases. The increased availability of and massive drop in prices for renewable energy (solar, wind) and energy efficiency (such as LEDs, electric cars) give hope that that progress can continue and accelerate. That ‘progress’ is, however, not enough and requires acceleration — more than a doubling down — across the economy (domestically and internationally).
President Donald Trump — and the people he would populate the Administration with — almost certainly would work diligently to put the brakes on (and outright reverse) the progress that has been and is being made to reduce the risks of catastrophic climate change.
Unlike everything else on Senator Warren’s list, the next President could put the brakes on or accelerate U.S. government efforts related to climate change alone. And, while everything on Senator Warren’s list matters, addressing climate change is a sine quo non for fostering a prosperous and secure nation for the decades to come.
With all due respect, Senator Warren, the absence of that existential threat from your list is glaring.