Category Archives: Donald Trump

Business As “Usual”

When I started college I knew there would be times like this where my school work, environmental work, lectures and all else might keep me from posting to my blog as often as I’d like and the last two months have been just that. I’ve been “radio silent” for some time between traveling overseas for an incredible experience that I will soon share with you, final exams, a new job I’ll tell you about soon, and one marine science expedition after another to start the summer. I will be back on the “high seas” on a week long shark tagging trip later this week, but will do my best to write a post or two between now and then given all that’s going on in the world starting with Business As Usual

Cowardly Lion

I was going to title this post Cowards but I generally see myself as a polite, respectful person and thus settled on Business As “Usual” instead.

As much of the world now knows, this week President Trump clearly announced that he’d not have any reservations over accepting information about a political opponent from a foreign government (sound familiar?), nor feel compelled to inform the FBI if ever contacted about such information.

I will leave it to the expert political scientists to evaluate most of the President’s troubling comments but should anyone wonder whether his comments are acceptable (or legal), you need only read the unprecedented statement that the head of the Federal Elections Committee, a Trump appointee, issued while also wondering out loud why her office would even need to explain that working with a foreign government, or not informing authorities about being approached, should be common sense. You can read all about it here from a Washington Post article which starts with the following:

Federal Election Commission Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub released a statement Thursday making clear that candidates for public office may not receive help from a foreign government, in what appeared to be a warning to President Trump, who said he would consider taking information about an opponent from another country. 

 

 

 

Tweeting her statement, Weintraub wrote, “I would not have thought that I needed to say this.”

The President and his profound lack of character is now well known to the world and frankly I’m over it and him. His record speaks loudly for itself and the sooner we can replace him, the better (November 2020 can’t come soon enough!).

However, what actually concerns me is the fact that nearly his entire political party, yes the Republicans, are so systemically silent in response.

Politics aside, as an American it’s truly troubling that virtually all members of his party run so scared of the man (and why, for fear of an early morning tweet?) that they avoid calling him out over those comments and countless others. Their silence facilitates the fire to grow and grow.

These educated men and women in our Congress and Senate are in prominent positions to act like leaders, to be examples for others, especially young people, to follow. They hold in their hands the morals, ethics and laws of our nation and yet virtually all of them remain silent as a storm that erodes our country rages around them.

Their silence has become their accepted approach to politics, it is how they conduct their business but it does not go unnoticed. And I am certain that I am not alone in these observations nor in thinking that they are cowards to stand silent and by doing so condone his behavior.

I can’t say I am surprised, the Republicans’ silence has for too long been their typical “business” strategy to all things climate change. As they sit silently, or worse when they enthusiastically promote antiquated industries such as oil and coal in places like West Virginia, Kentucky, Texas and elsewhere in hopes of garnering votes and political donations to perpetuate their time in office, Republicans are placing their selfish political interests above serving our country and that, most certainly, is shameful.

In order to solve our climate crisis, all of our elected leaders, no matter their party affiliation, are going to need to become involved in creating meaningful solutions, to actively engage in productive debate over what is happening right before our eyes and in supporting solutions to the problem by helping our country transition away from fossil fuels and to our sustainable futures. To avoid these topics, or for that matter avoid scolding a terribly misguided President, will not make things better and likely makes them worse. And while we can likely tolerate the circus that is the Trump White House until the next election, we do not have any time to waste when it comes to our climate crisis.

To solve the climate crisis we need and deserve patriots and leaders, not cowards.

Business as usual will not work.

Policies and products that emit carbon pollution into our atmosphere and oceans must end. We need elected officials who will make the hard choices to support transformational changes that in many cases will threaten their ability to be re-elected and that put our nation and environment ahead of politics. Avoiding the topic as happened over the last 8 years here in Florida under Governor, now Senator, Rick Scott or is happening in Washington right now, is no longer acceptable.

All of us likely need to be a bit less polite and far less patient when it comes to saving our planet.

And you know what? On second thought, I should have titled this blog Cowards. That’s what those who stand silent and allow this to happen to our country and planet are: COWARDS.

Thanks President Trump, General Motors, the people of Lordstown, Ohio…

Thanks President Trump, General Motors, the people of Lordstown, Ohio; Oshawa, Ontario; Detroit, Michigan; White Marsh, Maryland and Warren, Michigan for helping our country and world move closer to solving our climate change crisis.

Despite Donald Trump’s cruel and shortsighted 2016 campaign promises (promises he often repeated this year while campaigning for others in the region) of new jobs, a bright future and pleas to already desperate and scared American auto workers to not sell their homes, General Motors this week announced that they will be closing at least five manufacturing plants and laying off 15% of their workforce. GM’s stated reason for taking this action, as they stated in their press release, is their desire of transforming the global enterprise to advance the company’s vision of Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions, Zero Congestion.”  

So I say thank you to President Trump for showing the world how antiquated your thinking and “gut” has been about the future of transportation and energy in America. Politics has no place in our climate change crisis, the stakes are far larger than the shallow campaign promises, lies and deceit that constantly flow from your mouth.

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And speaking of your mouth, you’ve repeatedly put your foot into it this week while questioning America’s Fourth National Climate Assessment, so I also want to thank you for showing everyone how idiotic you are on a topic that according to the landmark work by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication has found that 70% of Americans believe our climate crisis is real.

That’s true too, of course, of experts from all over our (now your) government who prepared this report and in doing so illustrate that our climate change crisis presents real and grave danger to our environment, people and economy.

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Thank you President Trump for illustrating the point I made many years ago by creating a button about climate change being real and that we needed to set politics aside to deal with this crisis. We know how you feel about this topic, President Trump, so thanks for sharing your view, but I’d suggest you stop talking about the topic until we’ve removed you from office and can get on with the real work of solving what I believe is the most important challenge facing my generation: climate change.

In a strange way General Motors deserves some thanks too for publicly announcing that it is “transforming the global enterprise.” It is, however, important to keep in mind that they are doing so because they believe it will be good business for their company and investors. GM sees a future where SUV’s offer more promise and profit to their company but also one where cars will be automated and electric. And that’s okay.

To address our climate crisis it will take many large businesses in all sorts of industries to force change and that understand that sustainable energy is both what their customers will increasingly demand and good business too. By the way, GM is not alone. Both Ford Motor Company and FIAT Chrysler will be doing the exact same thing: shifting their production to automated, electric vehicles as we transition to a zero carbon emissions future that, for me, can’t happen soon enough.

Most importantly, the people who will lose their current jobs as our country and the world transition away from gas combustion and diesel engine powered vehicles that emit pollution to clean energy solutions such as electric vehicles are to be commended, thanked and sincerely supported. In many cases these brave Americans have worked at GM and the businesses GM subcontracts with for a variety of parts for many years and in many cases for generations. Make no mistake, these people, their families and communities face truly tough times transitioning into new employers, jobs and perhaps places to live. It is my hope that they will take the negative news this week and work hard to turn it into a positive by rising up to demand that leaders in their communities embrace this as an opportunity to step into the future.

Why can’t places like Lordstown, Oshawa, Detroit, White Marsh, and Warren become places that build more solar panels and related sustainable equipment than any place on the planet?

Why can’t the USA become the world’s leader in producing solar equipment, much less in installing it everywhere?

The thousands of people who face these layoffs are expert, skilled makers, they know how to conceive, assemble and ship world class products and I see no reason that, with the right leadership in their communities and our country, investing in the manufacturing of sustainable products and solutions such as solar would not only enrich these people but our country and planet!

Buggy

There is, of course, a perfect example of how one industry had no choice but to transition long ago. It’s a topic I’ve written about before (click here). Think back on our history to a time when people traveled by horse drawn carriages, buggies and wagons when a change came along that threatened their jobs and futures. That threat was called the automobile. The advent of new technology did not lead to our country collapsing but required people to transition their skills from raising and caring for horses, building and maintaining wagons, carriages and buggies to over a century of great jobs in the new auto industry. My point is that we have done this before and we can certainly do it again.

And that’s exactly what should happen here, these communities and those impacted will, I hope, blaze the trail into America’s future of sustainable energy and every one of us should proudly and quickly support them along the way by demanding that our government provide economic help to businesses that want to create sustainable products/jobs, training for people to learn new skills and, for crying out loud, the widespread implementation of solar power and other truly clean energy solutions and the jobs that go with them all over our country.

Let us not see the recent climate report or of these layoffs as “bad” news but as opportunity. An opportunity to embrace a future of clean energy, to support our fellow Americans in helping us transition into that future and as a vivid example that political rhetoric, fake promises and lies have no place in our climate change discussion, nor in any other place in these United States.

Of Course They Knew

We owe thanks to Jelmer Mommers, a Dutch journalist who has uncovered Shell Oil Company reports dating to the 1980’s that prove that this global fossil fuel petrol company has known for many decades that their products are destroying our planet, warming its climate and causing seas to rise.

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From Shell’s 1988 report aptly entitled “The Greenhouse Effect”:

“by the time global warming becomes detectable it could be too late to take effective countermeasures to reduce the effects or even to stabilize the situation.”

They knew.

Shell concluded that as of 1988 their company was generating 4% of world-wide carbon-dioxide emissions from the products it produces: oil, natural gas and coal.

They knew.

And as has happened, the 1988 report, which can be found here, correctly predicted that by the late 20th or early 21st century scientists would be able to conclude that our climate’s severe warming was, you guessed it, caused by these products and the carbon dioxide they emit into our atmosphere and oceans.

And what did they do armed with “The Greenhouse Effect report”? They covered it up, of course. For another decade they were a member of something called the Global Climate Coalition, a trade group whose purpose was to deceive the public by producing propaganda that attempted to question or discredit the scientific truth, the truth that their own experts had provided to their company leadership in that 1988 report. Talk about crimes against humanity.

They knew.

Their own report concluded that as of 1981, 99% of carbon-dioxide emitted into our atmosphere came from the products that Shell and their competitors produce. From their own report:

44% of carbon-dioxide emissions came from oil,

38% from coal and

17% from natural gas.

Their report also includes an analysis about the impact of a warming climate including sea level rise, acidification and the impact of rising temperatures on people including how this will force us to migrate to other places as our environment is destroyed by their products. It even suggests strategies to deal with the problem including a recommendation that they take political action as soon as possible and not wait for more people to see more obvious changes in our climate such as those they predicted would be apparent (and is now evident) in the decades after the report.

They knew.

In fact, they have all known for decades that the products they make and humans pay for and use are destroying earth’s environment and warming our climate to catastrophic levels. And one can conclude that they covered it up time and time and time again because it’s bad for business to have the public know you are destroying the only planet we have, and along with that our children’s future.

And when I say “they” I don’t, of course, mean only Shell (Royal Dutch Shell) but every large and small oil company and nation including EXXON, Chevron, Valero, Marathon, Conoco, BP and every other maker and distributor of fossil fuel products. Saudi’s Aramco, China’s Sinopec, National Petro Corp and Petro China, Brazil’s Petrobras and on and on.

Every car manufacturer knows the truth too and yet they are successfully lobbying our President and his EPA Director RIGHT NOW to relax emissions rules so they can keep selling the products that emit the pollution for as long as possible.

And every utility company knows too. They can run all of the “slick” ads they like about how low their rates are or how much they love solar but they are not being honest with you. As I have mentioned here before, our own local utility, FP&L, produces less than half of 1% of its energy from solar and that’s because they would rather use coal, natural gas and nuclear energy over the last nearly 100 years they’ve been in business instead of robustly investing in sustainable solutions like the widespread use of solar power.

And you know who else knows and actively plays along in the cover-up and lying game? Politicians such as Florida’s Governor Rick Scott, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, EPA Director Scott Pruitt, and, of course, U.S. President Donald Trump. They and the others that protect and perpetuate the fossil fuel firms like Shell and the products that emit the pollution, the established utilities, car makers and the rest, all know.

Of course they knew, they all did. “The Greenhouse Effect” report only adds to the growing pile of irrefutable scientific evidence and facts that prove carbon-dioxide from fossil fuel products has most certainly caused our global climate crisis. Anyone that suggests otherwise, that these products are not warming our planet to disastrous levels, is wasting our time. Time we simply don’t have to waste.

The question is now that we know, what are the rest of us going to do to fix the problem before it’s too late?

To learn more about “The Greenhouse Effect” please click here for an excellent article from The Washington Post by Steven Mufson and Chris Mooney.   

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