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Trump and Climate Change

by Helmut Selinger Tuesday, Sep. 12, 2017 at 5:19 AM
marc1seed@yahoo.com

Human activities have contributed to the ice loss in the Arctic. In his short term in office, Trump and his accessories in the government rescinded two dozen regulations to protect the climate and the environment. The climate, peace and anti-racism movements must join forces.

TRUMP AND CLIMATE CHANGE


By Helmut Selinger


[This article published on August 20, 2017, is translated from the German on the Internet, https://isw-muenchen.de. Helmut Selinger is a physicist.]


On 8/7/2017, the "New York Times" published the final draft of the Climate Science Special Report written by many top-flight scholars from 13 US Federal authorities [1] and several universities [2] in the commission of the government. In the past, the US government published an official report on climate change and its effects on the US every four years.


However, there is a new situation this year 2017. The active President Trump is a self-confessed "climate denier" who doubts the overwhelming scientific facts of a climate change caused by humans. This comprehensive government report is now presented for a final vote but the academics fear their scholarly statements will be falsified or the whole report repressed. Therefore an unusual pre-publication of the draft occurred.


This profound report that is more than 600 pages confirms and strengthens the most negative conclusions and trends of global climate science and concretizes them for the US. For example, the report emphasizes


* the average temperature in the US has drastically increased since 1980 and the last decades were the warmest in 1500 years.


* the evidence for a change of the climate from the highest atmosphere to the depths of the oceans is in plentiful supply. Much evidence shows that human activities, especially the emission of greenhouse gases, are responsible for the climate change that is observed and forecast ever more strongly.


* the frequency and intensify of extreme heat and rain events increases in most continental regions.


* the oceans now absorb more than a quarter of emitted CO2 and thereby cause an acidification with potentially very harmful effects on the maritime ecosystem.


* the concern over acidification, warming, and the loss of oxygen in the ocean grows with the scientific analysis… This can be worse in some US coastal regions than in the global middle with the corresponding risks for serious ecological and economic consequences.


* the surface temperature over Alaska and the Arctic has increased twice as fast as the average global temperature in the last 50 years. The permafrost thaws and releases additional CO2 and methane.


* the ice loss in the Arctic has accelerated dramatically in the last years. With great likelihood, human activities have contributed decisively to this decline.


* the average global CO2 concentration exceeds 400 ppm, a level that last occurred on earth around 3 million years ago when the temperature and sea level were significantly higher than today. Continuous CO2 emissions in this century will lead to CO2 concentrations not seen on earth in more than 10 million years.


* the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement can not be reached with the present global CO2 emission rates.


The scientists directly contradict President Trump and the appointed head of the National Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with these and other statements in the report. Scott Pruitt is also an open denier of anthropogenic climate change.


How will Trump and his administration deal with the report? Will he completely repress it or "only" falsify and relativize it? In any case, he will comment in his way and make himself ridiculous. We can assume he will continue his open and primitive lobby policy for the US coal-, oil-, and gas industry.


Trump and his administration will cancel the much too weak political measures for consistent climate protection. In his short term in office, Trump and his accessories in the government rescinded two dozen regulations to protect the climate and the environment. Several should be mentioned here as examples:


* he approved the Dakota Access pipeline.


* he analogously approved the Keystone XL pipeline with the repeated argument of ensuring jobs in the fossil industry and guaranteeing energy security.


* after complaints from the coal industry, he annulled restrictions on dumping wastes in local rivers and tributaries.


* after the intervention of oil- and gas firms, Scott Pruitt rescinded the obligation to report methane emissions.


* a restriction on new leases of public lands for the coal industry was revoked.


* the protection of tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act should be reviewed and eliminated and so on.


On the international plane, Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement even though this was rather informal and non-committal and would hardly have done justice to the necessity of consistent climate protection. Moreover, the US has the greatest worldwide historical and actual climate responsibility which disturbs Trump and his lobby-government less than his predecessor governments. In contrast to them, he has not even taken note of the scientific facts of his own scientists and agencies. He defends an openly reactionary and anti-science policy.


That is the situation today. The United States does not only threaten the peace directly in Korea and Venezuela with war. The US also acts in a provocatively ignorant and absolutely harmful way nationally and internationally in the question of climate change.


Nevertheless, the new climate report and its early publication show that resistance against this obvious irrationality and one-sided interest-policy in favor of outdated and harmful industrial companies stirs even in the US. Besides the "scientific community" of natural science climate research, the environment and climate movement in the US show it is ready for active resistance. The new film by Al Gore "Still an Uncomfortable Truth" will be shown in German movie houses from September 7.


Hopefully, other occupational groups in the US will take up the examples of the steadfastness of climate scientists and rise up against self-destruction.


The climate-, peace- and anti-racism movements must join forces and help end the old Trump tricks.


[1] Among others National Science Foundation, NOAA Earth System Research Lab, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, DOE Office of Science, US Global Change Research Program and the National Center for Atmospheric Research


[2] Among others Columbia University, University of Washington, North Carolina State University, Naval Postgraduate School, Columbia University, Texas Tech University, Northern Arizona University, Rutgers University, University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana, and the University of Maryland
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