February 6th, 2019 by Steve Hanley
What an extraordinary buffoon America has chosen for its leader. As the world is rocked by one climate induced disaster after another, the President of the United States devoted 82 minutes last night to fueling hysteria about black and brown people, claiming they are an existential threat to the nation while totally ignoring the one thing that actually is a threat to the country — climate change. “An economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations,” Trump said.
There it is in a nutshell, folks. After 9/11, George W. Bush told Americans to go shopping. In 2019, a clueless chief executive tells corporate America to keep on stuffing cash into bank accounts at the expense of ordinary citizens who are working two or sometimes three jobs just to keep from slipping backwards.
Nothing — not raging forest fires, cataclysmic storms, or rising sea levels — must be allowed to slow the soul crushing assault of corporations on democracy and personal dignity. America is open for business, as Trump is fond of saying while preening for the cameras in his MAGA hat.
Republicans gave corporations the biggest tax cut in history in 2016 and justified it by claiming that money would be invested back into the economy. Instead, it was used to pay gargantuan bonuses to top executives and repurchase shares of stock, further enriching those same executives. The entire justification for the tax cut, in other words, was a lie.
The message from Trump is clear. America will continue to burn every molecule of fossil fuel it can wrest from the Earth in an effort to keep the orgy of corporate profits going. So what if pollution kills a few people? Those folks with lung and heart disease as a result of pollution are happy to sacrifice their lives so some billionaire can buy another $300 million condo, aren’t they?
The issue being studiously ignored by the American government is a rapidly warming planet, one that soon will be incapable of supporting human life — or any other life, for that matter. And all of it is justified by an unquenchable lust for money. “Greed is good,” intoned Gordon Gekko. But he was wrong. Greed is a death sentence for the Earth and every living thing on it.
We know what needs to be done. Mark Jacobson of Stanford and his colleagues have created a road map showing precisely what every state in the Union needs to do to stop pumping more and more carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Then they did the same thing for 139 nations of the world. If you want a different perspective, there is the excellent book Drawdown, edited by Paul Hawken.
Both Jacobson and Hawken spell it out, step by step, in exquisite detail precisely how to do what absolutely must be done to prevent the Earth from becoming a burned out cinder — stop using fossil fuels. Period. Full stop.
Instead of building walls, both sources provide detailed plans for building a bridge to the future, one that focuses on a sustainable environment. But the braying jackass in the MAGA hat refuses to take responsible action to slow rising global temperatures because it will be too expensive. Which leads to this question. How much is the world worth?
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