Sunday, September 20, 2015

Climate Sunday: Donald Trump Edition


Keeping with the traditions I make up here on the fly, I have named this week's climate change and environment round-up after Donald Trump, who alleged, as the Tweet above shows, that climate change is a hoax started by the Chinese. (There is so much more raving silliness where that came from it's almost not funny. Almost. But mockingly plow on, I must.) But really--he doesn't know the Swedes started it? I'll give a buffalo nickel to anyone with the stones to ask him for the name of one Chinese climatologist.

Trump is still nattering on about climate change with apparently no more sense than he has about things appearing in the Bible, foreign policy, and how not to look racist in public. As a benchmark, I'd have to say my favorite "kooky uncle-you-ignore-on-Facebook" moment is when he quixotically actually made a crusade of tilting at windmills. When Carly Fiorina drops nonsense about stuff like windmills killing birds, you kind of just want to laugh it off and wonder what she's fixing to do about the damn cats. When The Donald calls windmills an eyesore and claims they don't look classy, you're in meta-territory. They don't look right. Shoot. The Dutch were cool with windmills, back in the day. Maybe Trump just has a problem with strong winds in general.

Anyway, he's not much worse than the rest of the "not-a-scientist" pack at the recent primary debate. Most either ignore climate change entirely or consider it a hoax, and where they don't, they use vague economic excuses about why they don't think anything should be done about it. Sen. Marco Rubio's "America is not a planet" line sticks out for it's half-rightness. Of course, The US is just one country that happens to exist on this particular globe--but exist on it we do. So climate change actually affects us and our responsibility doesn't change because of "Well, what are the other countries doing?" And for that matter, China is often used as the scapegoat--what are they doing anyway? Well, turns out they are doing a thing or two or a bunch. They are losing many citizens to environmentally-related diseases. They can't not realize that not addressing climate change is just as much a losing proposition for them in the long run. And keep in mind that globally, it's always the poor who are most screwed over by the results of climate change. Pretending we'll do nothing because it benefits them is a disgraceful lie.

Failing to understand how climate change affects populations in vulnerable areas as a national security and foreign policy issue is part of what's driving things like the Syrian refugee crisis. People willfully closing their eyes to the reality of climate change because they think it's about dollars and cents, are completely unprepared to recognize that this is not just a humanitarian issue abroad, but at home, when you consider that the western wildfire season has become nearly year-round and is costing our economy astronomical sums. Our coastal regions (where many countries have put their big cities because of the convenience for shipping trade) will also suffer from sea level rise--which is measurably occurring.  We experience significant short-term evidence of a warming planet, but also, some of the oases of supposedly contradictory evidence, like the polar ice caps, are melting away. The so-called hiatus when things weren't heating up--doesn't seem to have actually happened.

Donald Trump is way wrong on environmental issues and basically a conspiracy theorist, just like he is regarding Ebola, vaccines, or whether President Obama was born in America. The idea that this kind of gob-stopping ignorance is thisclose to the Presidency is really scary.

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