19. He has deliberately stalled the nation’s response to climate change
Despite what Amy Comey Barrett may say to avoid answering a question, climate change isn’t controversial. Although society’s response to it has engendered enormous controversy, the phenomenon itself is not; it was long ago proven beyond the shadow of a doubt. The basic mechanism behind it was first described almost 200 years ago, and alarm bells have been ringing for several decades now. To date, no disinterested scientist has presented one shred of credible evidence to counter either of two fundamental premises:
- our planet is warming, and
- human activity, specifically the large-scale emission of greenhouse gases, is the primary cause.
Predictably, various entities concerned about their short-term earnings have attempted to muddy the waters. Much money has been spent on a disinformation campaign intended to delay governmental action as long as possible, so as to maximize profit as long as possible. This delay has caused us to lose valuable time in addressing the problem. Now, due to 30 years of inaction and insufficient action, we are faced with a crisis of staggering proportions—the greatest challenge ever to face humanity. Exceptional leadership, not to mention much sacrifice, will be required to avert complete catastrophe.
America’s leaders do not have an impressive track record in addressing the crisis, thus far. President Bush the Elder at least acknowledged the problem. President Clinton took a baby step or two to address it. Bush the Younger’s record was shameful. President Obama’s leadership on this issue was inadequate, although he likely would have done more if he hadn’t been stymied by Congress. In 2016, he did sign on to the Paris Agreement, a too-little, too-late accord that nevertheless represented a foundation on which to build an effective global response. Then came the election of 2020 and a sneering, angry man with a pronounced disdain for science took over in the White House.
One of DT’s first actions as president was to announce the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. When the withdrawal takes effect next month—on Election Day (!)—the U.S. will officially join the company of eight other countries that aren’t on board with the agreement: Angola, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Turkey, and Yemen. With the possible exception of Turkey, whose authoritarian leader he admires, those aren’t exactly countries that DT professes to like. Some are even what he calls “shit countries.” Funny that he should want the country he supposedly leads to be associated with them.
DT has spent the last four years publicly questioning the reality of climate change, ignoring what scientists are clearly telling him, and denying that there is a problem, let alone a crisis. While this has played well among the deeply gullible and the willfully ignorant who constitute his voter base, the clock has kept ticking, the planet has kept warming, and climate-fueled disasters have kept occurring. One wonders how many of those attending his super-spreader rallies have seen their homes destroyed by hurricanes or wildfires. Perhaps whatever flavor of Kool-Aid he’s served them blinds them to reality, even when tragedy strikes them personally. At any rate, one hopes there aren’t enough of them to grant him another four years. When it comes to climate change, it’s not only the U.S. that is directly threatened by the prospect of DT’s being reelected; it’s the whole world.
One of the more startling ironies of this troubled age involves the connection between climate change and the migration of people. Opposition to immigration has become almost the sole province of the Republicans, and yet it is climate change, which Republicans steadfastly refuse to address, that will play an increasingly large role in large-scale migration to the U.S. over the coming years. As the planet continues to grow hotter (which it will do for the rest of the century, even if we take drastic action now to inhibit it), there will be mass movements of people away from the equator—e.g., the tropical regions that include half of Mexico and all of Central America—to temperature regions such as the U.S.
So yeah, let’s keep our heads in the sand, guys. No need to convert over to renewable energy—just keep building more of that wall. If they dare to breach it and sully the purity of America with their brazen desire for food, water, and shelter, we’ve got ICE and citizen militias to handle it.
(The preceding paragraph contains irony, a mode of communication that DT and his followers don’t appear to comprehend. More on that soon.)