McKibben: Trump’s reckless climate decision

“People say, if all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. We should be so lucky. President Trump has a hammer, but all he’ll use it for is to smash things that others have built, as the world looks on in wonder and in fear. The latest, most troubling example is his decision to obliterate the Paris climate accord: After nearly 200 years of scientific inquiry and over 20 years of patient diplomacy that united every nation save Syria and Nicaragua, we had this afternoon’s big game-show Rose Garden reveal: Count us out,” said Bill McKibben in the New York Times.

“It’s a stupid and reckless decision — our nation’s dumbest act since launching the war in Iraq. But it’s not stupid and reckless in the normal way. Instead, it amounts to a thorough repudiation of two of the civilizing forces on our planet: diplomacy and science. It undercuts our civilization’s chances of surviving global warming, but it also undercuts our civilization itself, since that civilization rests in large measure on those two forces.

“Science first. Since the early 1800s we’ve been slowly but surely figuring out the mystery of how our climate operates — why our planet is warmer than it should be, given its distance from the sun. From Fourier to Foote and Tyndall, from Arrhenius to Revelle and Suess and Keeling, researchers have worked out the role that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases play in regulating temperature. By the 1980s, as supercomputers let us model the climate with ever greater power, we came to understand our possible fate. Those big brains, just in time, gave us the warning we required.

“And now, in this millennium, we’ve watched the warning start to play out. We’ve seen 2014 set a new global temperature record, which was smashed in 2015 and smashed again in 2016. We’ve watched Arctic sea ice vanish at a record pace and measured the early disintegration of Antarctica’s great ice sheets. We’ve been able to record alarming increases in drought and flood and wildfire, and we’ve been able to link them directly to the greenhouse gases we’ve poured into the atmosphere.

This is the largest-scale example in the planet’s history of the scientific method in operation, the continuing dialectic between hypothesis and skepticism that arrived eventually at a strong consensus about the most critical aspects of our planet’s maintenance. Rational people the world around understand. As Bloomberg Businessweek blazoned across its cover the week after Hurricane Sandy smashed into Wall Street, “It’s Global Warming, Stupid.”

“But now President Trump (and 22 Republican senators who wrote a letter asking him to take the step) is betting that all of that is wrong. Mr. Trump famously called global warming a hoax during the campaign, and with this decision he’s wagering that he was actually right — he’s calling his own bluff. No line of argument in the physical world supports his claim, and no credible authority backs him, not here and not abroad. It’s telling that he simultaneously wants to cut the funding for the satellites and ocean buoys that monitor our degrading climate. Every piece of data they collect makes clear his foolishness. He’s simply insisting that physics isn’t real.

“But it’s not just science that he’s blowing up. The Paris accord was a high achievement of the diplomatic art, a process much messier than science, and inevitably involving compromise and unseemly concession. Still, after decades of work, the world’s negotiators managed to bring along virtually every nation: the Saudis and the low-lying Marshall Islanders, the Chinese and the Indians. One hundred and ninety-five nations negotiated the Paris accord, including the United States.”

Bill McKibben is a founder of and teaches environmental studies at Middlebury College.

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

16 thoughts on “McKibben: Trump’s reckless climate decision”

  1. Obama Accomplishments, no matter what, or how big or small, is reason enough for Trump to kill US support for the Paris Agreement. Just the letter O, alone, could start a twitter meltdown. He just cost how many more Republican seats in Congress? Hey, thoughts? #fivethirtyeight

  2. I agree. I think Trump’s overwhelming motivation is the humiliation he suffered at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner from Obama (and it was funny and right on). He’s a very petty, very small damaged toddler with no impulse control. And he’s as dumb as a bag of hammers.

      1. I cleared this comment because it illustrates what an ass Todd can be. (BTW, Todd still spells Kathy Griffin’s last name as “Griffith.”) lol.

      1. If you think about it, The Donald is introducing America and the rest of his world to his unique set of values, which shines through in his decision-making.

  3. A disgraceful exit is Trumps business model-
    Following this losers career in duping developers and taking advantage of loopholes in real estate robber baron laws, has somehow translated into being the bar that his base has set for being a success. #sad—— Chapter 11 you ask?
    – 6 times
    Bankruptcy No. 1: The Trump Taj Mahal, 1991
    Bankruptcy No. 2: Trump Castle, 1992
    Bankruptcy No. 3: Trump Plaza and Casino, 1992
    Bankruptcy No. 4: Plaza Hotel, 1992
    Bankruptcy No. 5: Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts, 2004
    Bankruptcy No. 6: Trump Entertainment Resorts, 2009

  4. On the heels of epithets like, “Lying Ted Cruz” and “Crooked Hillary”, POTUS has opened the way for his own appellation, “Dirty Donald”.
    Dirty deals, Dirty politics, and now Dirty energy.
    Cool wife, though.

  5. “President Trump has stood behind America’s taxpayers and workers by stopping this folly.”
    — Representative Tom McClintock, Republican of Elk Grove on his support of Trump pulling out of science based reality-

    Dear Tom- In the words of Adam Schiff—“There is no Planet B”

  6. McClintock, La Malfa, trump, and all of the rest of the climate deniers in government are stupid beyond belief. They have not evolved enough to see past the dollar sign. Which is why they are in power. The real big money (not trump who has his name on a lot of property but has very little equity [the Russian mafia has the rest] which is why he won’t reveal his taxes) put them there because they are stupid and will destroy the future so the big boys can make a buck now. They are like the Sheriff of Nottingham, paid thugs with no conscience or thought about other people.

    1. Re: “McClintock, La Malfa, trump, and all of the rest of the climate deniers in government are stupid beyond belief.”

      IMNSHO These legislators are NOT stooooopid. They are simply bought and paid for to be climate deniers. Get busy now to kick them all out of Congress in 2018. That, my friends, is how you get to VENGENCE IS MINE by getting 100% involved NOW in building up your base of like minded voters ready for the ballot box in 2018.

      Tis time you make that change…

  7. It sure feels like a junta.
    Especially if our 2016 election was actually a coup by Americans in league with communist Russia.
    Either way, it appears the Orwellian Superstate is prophecy fulfilled.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s