by Roz Paterson • The blows are coming thick and fast. The conciliatory speeches are out the window and now America’s President Elect Donald Trump is talking about mass deportations, Nigel Farage as UK ambassador, and tearing up the Paris climate accord, while the forces he’s unleashing make Nazi salutes with impunity and hate crimes surge.
Feel paralysed by your outrage and dismay? Well, you’re supposed to. That way, you do nothing and they win. The trick is to keep your head, choose a field, and work at it.
Just because you specialise in, say, climate change activism doesn’t mean you don’t care about the violent attacks against Muslim pupils in schools, or the thousands upon thousands who are being shunted off benefits and into destitution. Or that you won’t be there when help is needed.
Likewise, if poverty is your main focus, it doesn’t make you blind to the atrocities committed against the environment or, to put it in other words, the world we bequeath to future generations. It’s a long front we are fighting, and no one can do battle in more than one place at a time. And so, as Michael Moore would say, to work…
Trump, in case you hadn’t noticed, is no vegan trailblazer for sustainable living. If he was a car, he’d be a leaky Humvee with added bull bars and one of those horns that play a tune, at 125 decibels, right outside your front window. No wonder you can’t think straight. I said, NO WONDER YOU CAN’T THINK STRAIGHT!
His headline statement since his surprise election win is a determination to withdraw, asap, from the Paris Accord of 2015, designed to globally phase out greenhouse gases by the second half of the century, and which came into effect only four days before Americans went to the polls.
Trump, who claims climate change is a ‘hoax’ dreamed up by the Chinese to make the US less competitive, hopes to by-pass any protracted exit negotiations and simply scratch the American signature from the record.
He is assisted in this endeavour by such climate-denying stalwarts as Myron Ebell, who will likely head the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team, and currently one of the great ‘thinkers’ at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank funded, curiously enough, by ExxonMobil.
Ebell insists that global warming is not only “nothing to worry about”, but may indeed be a “good thing” as it will, he says, lead to fewer winter storms.
“At the risk of further ridicule in kooky blogs in England, where global warming alarmism is now a religion, that sounds pretty good to me.” Cold comfort to England, currently being battered and flooded by Storm Angus, eh?
Others flocking into the Trump stable include Mike McKenna and Mike Catanzaro, both knee-deep in dirty energy slush money, having forged their careers in the murky business of lobbying—or twisting the available data to fit the best-paying narrative, as it may also be described.
Not to mention Kathleen Hartnett White, whom Trump hopes to appoint at the head of the EPA, and who, as Director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Fuelling Freedom project, sought to “explain the forgotten moral case for fossil fuels.” Yeah, you heard right.
Meanwhile, in the real world, average global temperatures have risen to an unprecedented level, reaching 1.3ºC above late 19th century levels, when records began.
Arctic sea ice, in response, covered an area 40 per cent lower than in the 1970s, which is alarming in itself, but is also a trigger for further warming, as dark seawater absorbs heat, as opposed to white ice, which reflects it back, in a so-called negative biofeedback.
These results, say NASA, are not just worrying for their own sake, but especially so as they accord with a decades-long trend towards global warming and Arctic sea ice melt. There is no doubt that this is caused by human activity, rather than long-term natural processes.
What to do, folks? The climate conference at Marrakech, clearly shaken by these seismic changes in the US, is determined that the Paris Accord will succeed with or without the US, and is thus pressing on.
So must we. Keep protesting, keep being the change you want to see, and don’t be thrown off course by a bunch of stupid white men. Because they’re counting on that, y’know.