Trump vs Global Warming  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

George Monbiot has a look at the historical forces that enabled the rise of Donald Trump and notes that the biggest danger he poses initially is to action on global warming - The Deep History Behind Trump’s Rise.

It was inevitable that the blazing, insurrectionary confidence of neoliberalism would exert a stronger gravitational pull than the dying star of social democracy. Hayek’s triumph could be witnessed everywhere from Blair’s expansion of the private finance initiative to Clinton’s repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act, that had regulated the financial sector. For all his grace and touch, Barack Obama, who didn’t possess a narrative either (except “hope”), was slowly reeled in by those who owned the means of persuasion. As I warned in April, the result is first disempowerment then disenfranchisement. If their dominant ideology stops governments from changing social outcomes and delivering social justice, they can no longer respond to the needs of the electorate. Politics becomes irrelevant to people’s lives; debate is reduced to the yabber of a remote elite. The disenfranchised turn instead to a virulent anti-politics, in which facts and arguments are replaced by slogans, symbols and sensation. The man who sank Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency was not Donald Trump. It was her husband. The paradoxical result is that the backlash against neoliberalism’s crushing of political choice has elevated just the kind of man that Hayek worshipped. Trump, who has no coherent politics, is not a classic neoliberal. But he is the perfect representation of Hayek’s “independent”; the beneficiary of inherited wealth, unconstrained by common morality, whose gross predilections strike a new path that others may follow. The neoliberal think tankers are now swarming round this hollow man, this empty vessel waiting to be filled by those who know what they want. The likely result is the demolition of our remaining decencies, beginning with the agreement to limit global warming.

Grist is also worried about Trump's impact on climate action - There’s no way around it: Donald Trump looks like a disaster for the planet.

So what happens if Trump gets his way? More air pollution, more carbon emissions. Exactly how much more remains to be seen. There are, after all, plenty of other factors pushing down US emissions that Trump has no control over. Natural gas from fracking would continue to kill coal power. Wind and solar would continue to grow. But it’s nearly impossible to imagine emissions under Trump dropping at the sharp pace necessary to slow global warming.

Noam Chomsky also thinks that Trump is a menace to the planet - Trump in the White House: An Interview With Noam Chomsky.

Before turning to this question, I think it is important to spend a few moments pondering just what happened on November 8, a date that might turn out to be one of the most important in human history, depending on how we react.

No exaggeration.

The most important news of November 8 was barely noted, a fact of some significance in itself.

On November 8, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) delivered a report at the international conference on climate change in Morocco (COP22) which was called in order to carry forward the Paris agreement of COP21. The WMO reported that the past five years were the hottest on record. It reported rising sea levels, soon to increase as a result of the unexpectedly rapid melting of polar ice, most ominously the huge Antarctic glaciers. Already, Arctic sea ice over the past five years is 28 percent below the average of the previous 29 years, not only raising sea levels, but also reducing the cooling effect of polar ice reflection of solar rays, thereby accelerating the grim effects of global warming. The WMO reported further that temperatures are approaching dangerously close to the goal established by COP21, along with other dire reports and forecasts.

Another event took place on November 8, which also may turn out to be of unusual historical significance for reasons that, once again, were barely noted.

On November 8, the most powerful country in world history, which will set its stamp on what comes next, had an election. The outcome placed total control of the government -- executive, Congress, the Supreme Court -- in the hands of the Republican Party, which has become the most dangerous organization in world history.

Apart from the last phrase, all of this is uncontroversial. The last phrase may seem outlandish, even outrageous. But is it? The facts suggest otherwise. The Party is dedicated to racing as rapidly as possible to destruction of organized human life. There is no historical precedent for such a stand.

Is this an exaggeration? Consider what we have just been witnessing.

Much to my surprise, Bill OReilly at Fox News also thinks Trump should do something about global warming and keep to the Paris agreement - What? Bill O'Reilly Is Urging Trump to Keep the Paris Climate Agreement.

Conservative TV host Bill O'Reilly is urging Donald Trump to stick to the Paris climate agreement, the global pact to reduce emissions that the president-elect has railed against for months. "It doesn't really amount to much anyway," O'Reilly told his Fox News audience Wednesday evening. "Let it go."

One time Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis isn't focused on global warming when he talks about Trump, but he did have an interesting piece of commentary in the SMH after the US elections - Trump victory comes with a silver lining for the world's progressives.

The election of Donald Trump symbolises the demise of a remarkable era. It was a time when we saw the curious spectacle of a superpower, the US, growing stronger because of – rather than despite – its burgeoning deficits. It was also remarkable because of the sudden influx of two billion workers – from China and Eastern Europe – into capitalism’s international supply chain. This combination gave global capitalism a historic boost, while at the same time suppressing Western labour’s share of income and prospects.

Trump’s success comes as that dynamic fails. His presidency represents a defeat for liberal democrats everywhere, but it holds important lessons – as well as hope – for progressives.

From the mid-1970s to 2008, the US economy had kept global capitalism in an unstable, though finely balanced, equilibrium. It sucked into its territory the net exports of economies such as those of Germany, Japan and later China, providing the world’s most efficient factories with the requisite demand. How was this growing trade deficit paid for? By the return of around 70 per cent of the profits made by foreign corporates to Wall Street, to be invested in America’s financial markets.

To keep this recycling mechanism going, Wall Street had to be unshackled from all constraints; leftovers from President Roosevelt’s New Deal and the post-war Bretton Woods agreement which sought to regulate financial markets. This is why Washington officials were so keen to deregulate finance: Wall Street provided the conduit through which increasing capital inflows from the rest of the world equilibrated the US deficits which were, in turn, providing the rest of the world with the aggregate demand stabilising the globalisation process. And so on.

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