Trump administration on climate change: this is a thing now.

This now appears in the online journal The Week -- its headline is amusing, though the content is also in the WaPo:

Trump administration argues that Earth will inevitably be ruined by climate change, so we might as well keep using fossil fuels

Previous apologists for the status quo non-response to climate change have attempted to paint smiley-faces on the ideologies of "capitalism first, the planet second" which have guided their actions. Trump now grants us the pure version, with no smiley-face at all. For the Trump people, life does not matter, nobody's life, not even the lives of those in the Trump administration themselves. All that's really important are immediate profits for the fossil fuel industry and the other industries who make those key campaign finance donations. Right?

Of course there was a limit to the possibilities of climate change denial as a historic ideology. Nobody was going to buy into the notion that since climate change mitigation was bad for profits, climate change must therefore not exist, yet this piece of illogic was in fact the Trump stance (if I recall correctly) during his 2016 Presidential campaign. As for disputing climate change science, something the deniers used to do, there were three main problems:

1) The relationship between higher atmospheric carbon dioxide and higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels was established in 1896 by Svante Arrhenius. It's an inverse logarithm -- as CO2 multiplies, average temperature marches forward numerically. Arrhenius, amusingly enough, thought this was a good thing -- after all, he lived in an era of relatively low atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and an increase might not have been so catastrophic for him and his. For us, however, reality looks different, except for the deniers in our midst, who most clearly refused to look.

2) As for the actual numbers of what climate change means now, an increase or decrease of 45% in atmospheric CO2 corresponds to an increase or decrease in average temperatures in, well, more degrees than we want to admit at this time. The key reference in establishing the numbers is a 1999 research paper by a team, "Petit et al. 1999," a study of Antarctic ice cores which made it into Nature magazine. I gather the Trump forces no longer want to talk science, though.

3) The deniers had, and have, no convincing alternate model for how an increase in atmospheric CO2 of (now) 45% would result in no change in climate. Instead they bickered about side points, or misrepresented the mathematics of climate change as has been corroborated for 120 years now. At some point, apparently, this sort of denier petulance went away.

*****

OK so now the deniers have come to grips with climate change and its existential threat to planetary biospheres and human civilization. Congratulations! Their response, though, has been "let the disasters happen." A line from the WaPo article caught my eye:

Conservatives who condemned President Barack Obama’s climate initiatives as regulatory overreach have defended the Trump administration’s approach, calling it a more reasonable course. Obama’s climate policies were costly to industry and yet “mostly symbolic,” because they would have made barely a dent in global carbon dioxide emissions, said Heritage Foundation research fellow Nick Loris, adding: “Frivolous is a good way to describe it.”

The Trump administration's reasoning is no doubt less "frivolous," but in the way in which violent murder-suicide is less frivolous than pursuing half-baked hospice care in a case where the patient might survive with an extensive operation. With Trump on climate change we are, in short, a long, long way from the ideology of "good old American know-how," the ideology which motivated victory in World War II, moon flights, and detente with Russia. Perhaps it is this fact that should be thrown in the faces of the defenders of this sort of policy line.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

anything from ground breaking innovation to massive disaster is a disruption. In disruption is the potential for profit. Someone will always make a killing.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Snode

Governments would need to take drastic measures to sufficiently decrease carbon emissions, which "would require the economy and the vehicle fleet to move away from the use of fossil fuels, which is not currently technologically feasible or economically feasible," reads the report.

They aren't even going to try to see if this conclusion is true, given that it's either demonstrably true or false and that most likely it isn't true. Instead, they're going to give up. Let's call it "climate cowardice."

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"The financialized economy – including stocks, corporate bonds and real estate – is now booming. Meanwhile, the bulk of the population struggles to meet daily expenses." -- Ellen Brown

@Cassiodorus I just can't think of a government that isn't an ardent facilitator of capitalism, except north Korea. I mean, why does our government do anything these days?

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magiamma's picture

a lot....

It shows the ice cap speeding up from 2 inches per day to 82 feet per day.

The researchers looked at the Vavilov Ice Cap in the Russian High Arctic which covers nearly 300,000 square miles. They pieced "together the ice cap's deterioration by spying on the advancing ice with remote sensing technology from a constellation of satellites".

Seems more than exponential to me... Sobering.

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Cassiodorus's picture

Since WWE wrestling gets Trump's attention, maybe he could be labeled as the "Chris Benoit of climate change"?

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"The financialized economy – including stocks, corporate bonds and real estate – is now booming. Meanwhile, the bulk of the population struggles to meet daily expenses." -- Ellen Brown

Lily O Lady's picture

intelligent species when we are the authors of our own destruction?

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

snoopydawg's picture

@Lily O Lady

But it really isn't US is it? No. it's the assholes that we have allowed to run the country into the ground. I don't know when the time for us to fight back passed, but it has. Now if people decide to put on the French Revolution part two it's not going to happen. They have been preparing for us to finally decide that we have had enough and they will be ready for any uprising.

I've been searching for the executive orders that pertain to martial law and every president has added to them. Obama killed what was left of the constitution when he passed the NDAA. This allows the president to arrest us and hold us indefinitely without charges or access to a lawyer or a trial. It's unconstitutional as Hell, but it's law now.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

lotlizard's picture

@snoopydawg  
Say it ain’t so.

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@lotlizard

Tad Devine: We must own crisis, and we must brand crisis, and I think we should make a commitment. We should bet the house on the message.

Gonzalo Sanchez de Loazada: I'm starting to like those films, where you have a guy who slaps hysterical women in the lifeboat. ha ha ha

Who are Bernie's close advisors now? I don't know. It was Tad Devine in 2016, and Clintonites are still alive and well, thriving resistance for status quo. Or better yet, repeat the past! Year of the Wretched, 1992.

We're doomed! /larrydavid lol
good luck

scratch & claw

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wendy davis's picture

straight out of your mind. but a Q: do you believe that obomba's solutions were even a thing? i read joshua frank at CP lauding his great efforts, and they all seemed to be aspirational cons to me, much like the cop 15 unenforceable 'by 2025 we'll aim for' stuff.

yes, sobering data about (i assume) arctic ice cap glacier melting, and robert hunziker often laughs at climate science 'experts' being shocked! by their accelerating melting rates. on sept. 26 he'd published 'An Unforeseen Climate Beast Awakens!

"East Antarctica is a big-time global warming player. Nothing is comparable. It is the world heavyweight, and nothing can impact the world with so much calamitous clout. As such, it would be a huge mistake to discount its capability to turn mean-spirited, striking all of a sudden, catching scientists and humanity unawares. In fact, it’s already turning heads, and it alone is equivalent to 170 feet of water.

Disturbingly, early signals of destabilization have been detected at Totten Glacier/ East Antarctica, where, according to accepted science for years and years, we are not supposed to worry until the next century. Scientists have always said East Antarctica’s a “not to worry region,” nearly impervious to the impact of climate change."

in his August 3, 2018 ‘The End of the Line – A Climate in Crisis’ Robert Hunziker refers to Jem Bendell’s discoveries w. the avaiable data such as:

Non-linear changes are central importance to understanding climate change based on linear projections and that the changes no longer correlate with the rate of anthropogenic carbon emissions. In other words – ‘runaway climate change’.

Bendell’s research uncovered the chilling fact that several non-mainstream climate scientists of stature believe climate change is no longer simply change in the abstract. Rather, it is an ongoing crisis with real time dimensions and substance that is unavoidably dangerous for society. And, of utmost concern, it’s possible, but not proven, that the dye is cast.”
and

“Similarly, Bendell finds serious discrepancies in IPCC projections for sea level rise because of its commitment to linear change whereas non-linear is the course of action, especially based upon data over the most recent decade. The difference between linear versus non-linear is monumental and crucial to understanding the risks associated with the timing of climate crisis evolving into collapse of society.”

and later steers readers to ‘The Deep Adaptation Agenda is discussed in detail starting on page 18 of Bendell’s dissertation, which is readily available at:

http://www.lifeworth.com/deepadaptation.pdf.

As for his conclusion: “Disruptive impacts from climate change are now inevitable. Geoengineering is likely to be ineffective or counter-productive. Therefore, the mainstream climate policy community now recognizes the need to work much more on adaptation to the effects of climate change… societies will experience disruptions to their basic functioning within less than ten years due to climate stress. Such disruptions include increased levels of malnutrition, starvation, disease, civil conflict and war – and will not avoid affluent nations.”

In short, the impending breakout of a full-blown climate crisis in full living color will be all-inclusive, leaving nobody behind.”

i clipped a few paragraphs from the paper, you know how pdf's format all akimbo, a few words at a time... he's way past 'sustainability' as...even worth discussing.

“In pursuit of a conceptual map of “deep adaptation,” we can conceive of resilience of human societies as the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances so as to survive with valued norms and behaviours. Given that analysts are concluding that a social collapse is inevitable, the question becomes: What are the valued norms and behaviours that human societies will wish to maintain as they seek to survive? That highlights how deep adaptation will involve more than “resilience.”

It brings us to a second area of this agenda, which I have named “relinquishment.” It involves people and communities letting go of certain assets, behaviours and beliefs where retaining them could make matters worse. Examples include withdrawing from coastlines, shutting down vulnerable industrial facilities, or giving up expectations for certain types of consumption. The third area can be called “restoration.” It involves people and communities rediscovering attitudes and approaches to life and organisation that our hydrocarbon-fuelled civilisation eroded. Examples include re-wilding landscapes, so they provide more ecological benefits and require less management, changing diets back to match the seasons, rediscovering non-electronically powered forms of play, and increased community level productivity and support.

those are some things Gummints could do, yes? how many people have dies already from rising seas and runaway climate chaos? mostly the underclass, or useless eaters, non-producers...

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magiamma's picture

@wendy davis
I just did a synopsis of that very imho, excellent paper in the hot air essay just last Thursday.

He gets methane... from hot air:

Methane release could be catastrophic but is unfortunately debated because there is no scientific consensus.

“However, a key reason for their conclusion was the lack of data showing actual increases in atmospheric methane at the surface of the Arctic, which is partly the result of a lack of sensors collecting such information. Most ground-level methane measuring systems are on land. Could that be why the unusual increases in atmospheric methane concentrations cannot be fully explained by existing data sets”

"In 2010 a group of scientists published a study that warned how the warming of the Arctic could lead to a speed and scale of methane release that would be catastrophic."

Arctic News (2018) indicated that mid-altitude

“methane was around 1865 ppb, … while surface measurement of methane increases. By about 15 ppb in that time. Both figures are consistent with non-linear increase – potentially exponential – in atmospheric levels since 2007. That is worrying data but the more significant matter is the difference between the increase measured at ground and mid altitudes. That is consistent with this added methane coming from our oceans, which could in turn be from methane hydrates.”

We know we need to stay beneath 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels but

“it is unlikely we will keep within the carbon limit.” [And more importantly,] “there is not a carbon budget – it has already been overspent.”

boy howdy wd, you are spot on with this...

“relinquishment.” It involves people and communities letting go of certain assets, behaviours and beliefs where retaining them could make matters worse. Examples include withdrawing from coastlines, shutting down vulnerable industrial facilities, or giving up expectations for certain types of consumption

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Cassiodorus's picture

@wendy davis in the name of "climate change mitigation" has been little more than a public relations gimmick, and of course Obama stuff is no exception to this rule. I wrote a paper on this topic -- password AddletonAP2009 -- and it's got lots of very cool references explaining why "climate change mitigation" has amounted to nothing so far. The "reducing carbon emissions" thing is a farce and a joke, because in order to create a society in which there are no carbon emissions (or even few carbon emissions) there needs to be a comprehensive social makeover.

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"The financialized economy – including stocks, corporate bonds and real estate – is now booming. Meanwhile, the bulk of the population struggles to meet daily expenses." -- Ellen Brown

@Cassiodorus Thank you for writing this, and the link to it! I am reading it now, and learning a lot. Once again, thank you.

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by admiting that we cannot stop catastrophic climate change and saying "we'll fix it when it breaks". The only problem is that: 1, maybe we can't fix it because it would be too inconvenient, not because we truely can't, and 2, that plan only works with worn out can openers and such, with the earth billions of people will die.

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A PROUD Hillary hater since 1993

snoopydawg's picture

@doh1304

Trump admitted that climate change is real and maybe now his supporters will believe it. This has been Trump's MO. He tells us the truth about things that other presidents tried to sugarcoat.

Many of the legislation that Trump is doing wasn't actually put into play yet. Obama passed lots of it just a few months before he left office and they wouldn't take effect for months or even years. But it sure made it look like he finally became the president that he said he was in 2008. Swell guy.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@snoopydawg BO ordered some last minute items, but it wasn't sincere. It was done just so the dems could cudgel the next pres about revoking them. Nothing but politics.

I hate to read about the environment now, it upsets me so much about the destruction of the earth and animals.

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dfarrah

Hawkfish's picture

A while back I did an essay on catastrophe theory as it might apply to the 2016 election. This is a purely mathematical idea, and it can apply to many kinds of systems.

When people say “nonlinear” they are still acting like the system will change smoothly- just faster (technically they mean super linearly). But the real danger is discontinuity.

All predictions are off in such a situation - the system will jump somewhere but you have no clue where.

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We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.
- Greta Thunberg

magiamma's picture

@Hawkfish @Hawkfish
that in the past it has done just that.

the system will jump somewhere but you have no clue where.

edit

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@Hawkfish

...is very much how the dollar collapse has been behaving since 2001.

the system will jump somewhere but you have no clue

The economic storm had clearly gathered potential as far back as the 1980s. Somehow, the US stepped on the wrong path; a forced and unnatural path. After that, every economic decision the US made just added to the storm's potential. Black swans began riding the swirling currents above. By the late 1990s, the occasional black swan would land and economic reality would bounce violently and unpredictably. Some imbalances became permanent and we just adapted. All we had to work with was hindsight, which was cynically used to deny the reality of the obvious storm overtaking us.

The crash of 2008 was nothing more than the landing of yet another black swan from the menacing storm. The violence of the ensuing economic bounce told us the storm was much closer. We refused to see it because our leaders told us that the economy would recover and return to normal. Again, we just adapted to the stress because the return to normal never came. Denial is road to extinction.

The world has become unfamiliar to many by 2015. The economic black storm now sits directly above, and if they wanted to, most folks could see plainly. It's hard to think about because no one knows where or when the Black swans will land. We as a people or as a society do not discuss this reality or try to prepare for the next big disruption. Our leaders dismiss this idea; the topic is taboo and disreputable, so people shrink from it. In any event, the Think Tanks have designed and classified the scenarios the government will follow in times of turmoil. That's their job.

This economic scenario is not disconnected from the climate change dilemma that everyone has the capacity to see and fully understand if they really want to. We will soon come to realize that we are part of a complex system that is very entangled with the monomaniacal actions of the ultra-wealthy sociopaths, who have been making grand and intricate plans and preparations.

I think it's safe to say that there are about five billion throwaway people on this planet. And, then there are the rest.

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In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party.
– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 2020
lotlizard's picture

@Pluto's Republic  

We refused to see it because our leaders told us that the economy would recover and return to normal. Again, we just adapted to the stress because the return to normal never came. Denial is road to extinction.

With Trump, everyone can see the denial and glimpse the deadly struggles going on in the wings and behind the curtain.

The Bush-Obama-Clinton continuity would have assured us any problems were being addressed by the “adults in the room” and thus everything was fine.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@lotlizard

...the most catastrophic event to ever hit the Republican Party. He's letting them live out all of their utterly depraved political fantasies — while the home audience watches the social sickness unfold in their own living rooms.

I think people are seeing things they were never supposed to see.

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In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party.
– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 2020
lotlizard's picture

@Pluto's Republic  
though, and then we can go back to believing the giant head and the neat-o media smoke and flame effects.

Forget we ever saw a little man. Forget Toto ever lifted a curtain.

Forget Toto, period. Isn’t there an opening for a dog at the Ecuadorian embassy?

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@Pluto's Republic but this: We refused to see it because our leaders told us that the economy would recover and return to normal. Again, we just adapted to the stress because the return to normal never came. Denial is road to extinction.

Who is this 'we?'

The we that struggled to keep employment? The we that lost their homes and businesses? The we that are still struggling to dig out of the impact?

And who said we would return to 'normal?' In fact, BO said explicitly, those jobs are never coming back. And I heard that assertion over and over from politicians. It was just a big middle finger to the middle class.

If anything, there seemed to be a concerted effort on the part of the neo-libs to convince everyone that the crap was the new normal, toughen up, losers.

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dfarrah

Pluto's Republic's picture

@dfarrah

...when Obama first took office? All the economist fans were seeing "green shoots." They would post these charts that supposedly proved there was a real recovery coming on the heels of Hamp, Harp, the shovel-ready jobs, and the big-ass stimulus that pored into the banks and never make it to the small businesses on Main Street.

(The bankers sat on their asses and diverted the cheap Federal loans to forex carry trades instead of lending it to small businesses to stimulate the US economy. They never considered putting a floor under residential real estate by simply extending the length of the mortgage terms. They called those things "moral hazards" that would send the wrong message to the greedy, spoiled middle class and corrupt their souls. Before long, they blamed the victims for causing the crash because they had accepted the home equity loans they were hard-selling 24/7 on the advice of Alan Greenspan.)

Meanwhile, within a few months of the crash, the bankers were using bail-out money to confer massive bonuses on each other. Obama's inauguration came and went along with the stimulus that never reached the middle class homeowners and a bloody new surge in Afghanistan that accomplished nothing but death.

For the next four years in the Democratic ghettos of the Internet, if you didn't see the "green shoots" and feel Obama's recovery, you were a hater. Gangs of neoliberal thugs would police the "liberal" forums and bully Dems who didn't get excited over another for-profit health insurance racket, or the latest shiny new war, or the fabulous economic recovery on Wall Street. That's when Democratic candidates began losing elections. The only reason Romney didn't win is that he let it slip that he considered most Americans to be throwaway people. Obama won another term, but the Democrats kept losing.

Who is this 'we?'

The we that struggled to keep employment? The we that lost their homes and businesses? The we that are still struggling to dig out of the impact?

Everything the People suddenly "know" now — the corruption in DC, the betrayal of the Dems, who were playing the victims off against each other and the Republicans, the phony economics, and the grotesque poverty-inducing wars — was crystal clear by the time of Iran-Contra. All along, there were people telling the truth and defying the war culture, but they were shunned, marginalized, and ignored. Ralph Nader comes to mind. If the People had consulted their own moral compasses and faced the painfully obvious corruption of the US government instead of diving into denial and voting like it was a religious experience, they might not have had their assets stripped. It would have been a lot harder to bilk them.

The "We" is the people who all share the same fate as the voting American majority because democracy.

Our perspectives are different, but that does not mean one of our historical narratives is false. The system has grown very complex. The Plutocrats made a HUGE mistake by not immediately providing a universal basic income to 90 percent of the people whose income had stagnated. They know that now. They talk about it. That one mistake brought down an Empire.

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In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party.
– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 2020

The universe is expanding so what's the point.

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Beware the bullshit factories.