Monday, May 29, 2017

Those Who Know Take On Trump

In today's Washington Post, three former EPA administrators -- all of them Republicans -- take on Donald Trump. William Ruckelshaus, Lee Thomas and William Reilly begin with a bit of history:

More than 30 years ago, the world was faced with a serious environmental threat, one that respected no boundaries. A hole in the ozone layer was linked to potential increases in skin cancer and blindness from cataracts.

Despite early skepticism, the risk of a thinning ozone layer was such that an international U.N. conference was convened in Vienna to address this problem. The participating countries and international bodies, including the United States, the European Union and other major producers and users of CFCs, afterward met in Montreal to negotiate an agreement setting out a specific program to reduce the production and use of CFCs.

The Environmental Protection Agency, with strong support from President Ronald Reagan, led the international effort that resulted in a treaty that contained an aggressive schedule of reductions known as the Montreal Protocol. It remains in effect today and has resulted in significant improvement in the ozone layer and greatly reduced the threat to human health.

They then turn to today:

The EPA budget released this week cuts science and technology spending by more than $282 million , almost a 40 percent reduction. The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program is zeroed out; air and energy research are cut by 66 percent. Programs targeted at specific areas with significant climate vulnerabilities, such as the Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes and Puget Sound, have been eliminated.

The destruction of irreplaceable research would be staggering. It would put us and the rest of the world on a dangerous path. If our president is wrong about the reality of climate change, we will have lost vital time to take steps to avoid the worst impacts of a warming planet. If those urging collective worldwide accelerated action are wrong, we will have developed alternative sources of clean energy that will enhance our green energy choices for the foreseeable future.

The evolving response of the Republican Party to environmental issues tells the story. The Party stands for wilful ignorance. And its leader is a fool.

Image: NewsBusters


Anonymous said...

There was a time when conservatism included environmental conservation. Mulroney is still the Canadian PM with the best record on environmental regulation, and Nixon was the president who created the EPA. Those days are long gone.

Today's conservatives are more interested in picking winners and losers in the market to conserve a few more years of profits in dying industries like coal and tar sand mining. It would be like politicians in the 1960s and 70s cutting off public funding to Bell Labs and DARPA to get rid of the threat of computer advances to the typewriter industry. Trump and his party's short-sighted policies will rapidly end American leadership not only in environmental matters, but in science and technology in general. You can't deny global warming, slash funding to environmental monitoring, and retain any credible claim to believing in science and rational thought.


Anonymous said...

Its also interesting to note how science, government and industry worked together (sometimes not so willingly) to reduce acid rain. Environmental issues can be addressed successfully.

Owen Gray said...

Trump claims that he's a smart businessman, Cap. But he doesn't recognize opportunities that are staring him in the face.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, sl. Unfortunately, Trump doesn't do cooperation. Everything for him is a zero sum game. He's got to win. Everyone else has to lose.

The Mound of Sound said...

If there was ever an issue tailor made for non-partisan politics, it was climate change. That it became a political football stands testament to the class of individuals and the corporate interests that stand to be impacted by climate change action and that part of the political spectrum most faithful to their narrow interests. Climate change is the issue for which political and regulatory capture are best suited.

It's estimated that the value of proven fossil energy reserves subscribed on the world's stock exchanges and bourses approximates $27-Trillion. Institutional lenders, mutual funds, pension funds, even Ma and Pa dabblers are deeply exposed to the Carbon Bubble. In the UK, the current and former governors of the Bank of England have repeatedly warned of the enormous damage to the world economy poised by this Carbon Bubble.

As in so many other aspects vital to our survival as a species, we've mindlessly journeyed down a dead end road. If we turn back, we burst the Carbon Bubble, and invite ruin. If we don't, we choose the only other option, extinction.

Owen Gray said...

It's called Too Indebted to Fail, Mound. And that means failure is our only option.

Steve said...

Remember when Harper closed down the fresh water lake lab. Its all about casting doubt. If there are no answers everyone's opinion is correct.

Owen Gray said...

That's the strategy, Steve. But, when you move from casting doubt to denying facts, that's willful ignorance. It's the equivalent of claiming that the earth is flat.