Posted by: David Offutt | April 24, 2018

Earth Day 2018: Part 1 – Anthropomorphic Climate Disruption

David Offutt in Everglades National Park, Florida (early January 1979) – The Everglades are among the numerous public properties that are threatened by rising sea levels due to Anthropomorphic Climate Disruption.

Earth Day, April 22, occurred on Sunday this year. The date should be changed in such a way that it will always be on a school day. After all, that was one of the reasons it was created in 1970. It was to be a national teach-in day to discuss ways to save the planet. Anyway, Earth Day ought to be everyday. In that spirit, I thought I would devote three days this week to make some observations.

Earth Day 2018

Part 1 of 3: Anthropomorphic Climate Disruption (ACD)

Noam Chomsky, the legendary linguist and peace activist, has identified America’s Republican Party as the most dangerous organization in the world today. By that, he is not dismissing the violence and threats presented by hate group organizations like neo-Nazis or terrorists like ISIS. He’s simply pointing out that the only organization in the world that actively seeks the destruction of life as we know it on planet Earth is the Republican Party, what I now call the Trumpista Party – that name separates it from the former G.O.P. and is a more honest assessment of the party’s evolution.

Anthropomorphic Climate Disruption (ACD) is quite a mouthful, so that term is rarely used publicly by politicians or other public servants. It translates as human-caused climate change which is universally recognized as the greatest threat to the planet by virtually all scientists and all governments throughout the world except for the Republican Party – the Trumpistas – in the United States. Therefore, since the Trumpistas control the executive and legislative branches of the U. S. government and most of the state governments, they are actively seeking to increase the burning of fossil fuels and prevent as many remedial actions as possible.

The U.S. National Park Service recently issued a report on the effects of the rise of sea levels and storm surges on our national parks and public lands. The Antarctic ice is melting faster than anticipated and may overtake the melting of Greenland. Obviously, actions need to be taken to prevent the loss of our national treasures. However, Trump’s secretary of interior, Ryan Zinke, had all references of humans’ role in ACD deleted from the report. This is a deliberate effort to prevent the public from being informed of the causes of environmental disasters. It’s also a premeditated effort to do nothing to prevent the devastation that’s pending. It’s not just Liberty and Ellis Islands, the Everglades and other low-lying public areas that are threatened – New York City, Miami, other heavily populated cities are vulnerable, too.

Trump’s scandal-prone director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has been able to keep his job by doing everything he can to emasculate the efficiency of his agency. As the attorney general of Oklahoma, he was always bringing lawsuits against the EPA, and he’s still doing the bidding of the fossil fuel industry. Even though Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell have admitted to a federal judge that humans play a role in climate change, Pruitt has directed his staff to downplay the role of humans in increasing world temperatures. He is also planning to roll back requirements that automobiles be cleaner and more fuel efficient.

The fossil-fuel lackey Pruitt was also a strong supporter of Donald Trump’s rejection of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. The agreement itself is only a modest commencement to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Had it been done 30-40 years ago, we may have gotten a good start heading off many of the disasters that have become commonplace and that will be getting worse: tornados, hurricanes, droughts, floods, forest fires – all will increase in intensity.  There is a multiplying effect that will be getting worse: We put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the Arctic permafrost melts and releases methane which is worse than CO2; drought results in forest fires which release more CO2 – well, you get the idea.

Thanks to the Donald, the world will continue to fight the ever-increasing crisis without U.S. leadership – at least through 2020.  The Trumpistas hope to counteract the efforts of all the other nations. The Moses Syndrome – the mindless obsession to erase the name of Obama from anything he did – has resulted in a path to planetary suicide.

David Offutt in Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and Glacier National Park, Montana (July 1985) – Due to man-made climate change, the glaciers in this park are rapidly retreating. This is a view from the Going-to-the-Sun Road that divides the two parks.

Probably the most ridiculous and malicious scheme is the Trumpistas’ promotion to burn more coal. The plot to eliminate the Clean Power Plan makes no sense at all and fortunately won’t work for purely economic reasons. The Clean Power Plan was the Obama flagship program to meet U.S. goals as agreed to in the modest Paris accord. Energy companies know that not only is coal detrimental to the future of the planet but it’s also more expensive than better alternatives.

I want to end on another positive note.

My home state Arkansas, since the nomination of a black man for president, has turned into a solid red state, with a complete takeover by the Trumpistas of our state government. Our attorney general, Leslie Rutledge, endorsed Trump at the Republican Convention in 2016. She is actively trying to kill the Clean Power Plan, apparently for no other reason than she suffers from the Moses Syndrome. Arkansas – we like to call it The Natural State – is one of the most polluted states in the union, so it has a higher standard to reach than most other states to clean up its power stations. Ironically, Arkansas will probably meet those standards in spite of Ms. Rutledge. The energy companies in Arkansas already have plans to reduce the use of coal, and it would be financially irresponsible to cancel them.

(To be continued)

Part 2: The GOP-Trumpistas versus Environmental Presidents 

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Responses

  1. You are right, David, Trump’s views on the environment are extreme, almost like a cartoon character. But it probably doesn’t make any difference since no major party has a realistic plan to reverse climate change.
    .
    Natural gas is just as dirty as coal, perhaps more so, when the inevitable gas leaks are included in the tally. Natural gas is about 80 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. Under Obama & Hillary, natural gas production soared.
    .
    Meanwhile in Canada, “Liberal” Trudeau is pushing for the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline, while supposedly Green Germany is building pipelines to import more gas from Russia. So there are no good guys out there. There are extreme characters like Trump, and there are smooth talking con men like Obama and Trudeau, but there are no good guys.
    .
    I will await your next essay on how Arkansas is supposedly going to reduce its emissions, but if you cite replacing coal plants with natural gas and biomass then I’ll have to ask you to think again.

    Natural gas accelerating climate change

    Natural Gas’ dirty little secret

    Scientific American questions natural gas

    Gas worse than coal?

    There isn’t any good news on the climate. We may have already passed the tipping point, though no one knows for sure and since we’re not sure, we should not give up. The 6th mass extinction is well underway. The “liberal” party proposals like the Paris accord are much too little, much too late. Serious change would require radically changing our economy, our lifestyles, and our population, not merely switching to natural gas and erecting a few solar panels and wind turbines here and there. No one is even talking about those things.

    Already past the tipping point


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