Socialist Worker

White House is drowning in a climate of denial

Donald Trump is destroying the Earth. It’s another reason to join protests when the climate change denier comes to Britain next month, writes Sarah Bates

Issue No. 2654

Donald Trump shrugs off the dangers oil drilling in the Arctic

Donald Trump shrugs off the dangers oil drilling in the Arctic (Pic: Flickr/NRDC pix)


Donald Trump’s war on the planet is one of the most urgent reasons to join protests against his state visit to Britain in June.

His administration has launched a raft of attacks on the environment. Extreme weather, species extinction, decimation of natural habitats and other horrors for ordinary people are presented as opportunities for bosses to make profits.

Trump has even promised to pull the US out of the Paris 2015 climate agreement at the earliest opportunity—the day after the presidential election in 2020.

He has surrounded himself with politicians and advisers with deep links to the fossil fuel industry.

Trump recently signed two executive orders ti speed up approval of fossil fuel projects

Trump recently signed two executive orders ti speed up approval of fossil fuel projects (Pic: Flickr/Matt Johnson)


This has seen him lift a ban that stopped new leases for coal mines on government land and push through swingeing cuts for renewable energy investment.

He’s opened up Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling.

And documents leaked in March exposed plans to sell off Florida’s coastlines for fossil fuel exploration.

Trump signed two executive orders to speed up approval of fossil fuel projects.

The first bill will make it harder for individual states to block oil and gas pipelines on environmental and health grounds.

And the second will give the president the sole ability to approve fossil fuel infrastructure.

Hoax 

His presidency follows years of claiming that ­climate change was a hoax.

And after ­winning the presidency Trump even attempted to bury a 1,600-page climate change report produced by 13 departments of his own government.

When asked why it was released on Black Friday—one of the busiest shopping days—he replied, it was because “I don’t believe it”.

But instead of outright climate denial, Trump is now attempting to hide behind “climate scepticism”.

He focuses his efforts on ­doubting the extent of the climate crisis, instead of denying its existence at all.

This is echoed throughout much of his administration.

Arctic temperatures are rising fast—decimating the natural habitat of endangered species and causing sea levels to rise.

But at the Arctic Council gathering earlier this month US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the melting ice presented “new opportunities for trade”.

“Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st Century Suez and Panama Canals,” he said.

Trump is implementing policy that sets in motion rapid and catastrophic climate change. The movement to stop him must be even more urgent.


Oil industry money greases US political machine

Oil and gas bosses funnel money to politicians and fund dodgy research on climate change to influence energy policy.

Andrew Wheeler is the top US environment regulator—he’s also a former coal lobbyist and fossil fuel industry lawyer.

He’s delighted that Trump wants to exit the Paris climate agreement

Wheeler calls for a “healthier, open discussion around some of the scientific questions”. The fossil fuel industry has spent decades pouring doubt on climate science.

It was revealed last month that the largest five fossil fuel companies spent £153 million a year on lobbying in the US.

In the run up to the US midterm elections in 2018, £2 million dollars was spent on targeted social media adverts.

The report released by the InfluenceMap think tank highlights the hypocrisy from these companies.

Advocate 

Edward Collins, one of the report’s authors, said these firms “publicly support climate action while lobbying against binding policy”. “They advocate low-carbon solutions but such investments are dwarfed by spending on their fossil fuel business,” he said.

This was underlined by recent revelations about “Global Climate Coalition” (GCC), a lobby group funded by fossil fuel companies in the 1990s and 2000s.

It tried for years to influence the findings of the United Nations IPCC climate scientists’ reports. It spent huge amounts of cash on getting sympathetic scientists to become IPCC contributors.

And it even bought adverts attacking the credibility of individual IPCC scientists. The effects can still be felt today.

Professor Robert Brull said, “The efforts of the GCC continue to live on in the ongoing efforts of many conservative think tanks to dispute the findings of climate science.”


Trump family’s opportunism

Trump and his three adult children were part of a coalition of bosses who pressured president Barack Obama to take climate action ahead of international climate talks in 2009. In an opportunist act, they signed an ad in the New York Times newspaper calling for “the change necessary to protect humanity and our planet”.


Oil states reject climate report

Only four countries declined to “welcome” the landmark IPCC report last year that warned of climate catastrophe if temperatures rose by 2 degrees.

All four export oil—Russia, US, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.


Doubtful opinions of US citizens

Because of the lead from the top, the US has one of the highest rates of people who doubt climate science.

Some 13 percent of Americans think that the climate is changing “but human activity is not responsible at all”. Some 5 percent think the climate isn’t changing.

And 17 percent agreed with the statement, “Man-made global warming is a hoax.”


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