Is this ‘Game Over’ for climate change mitigation?

Last January, I posted It’s ‘Game Over’ for Fossil Fuels because… “I’d really like to think oil companies will soon admit the game is up: The extraction of fossil fuels is going to become increasingly financially uneconomic and socially unacceptable.”

However, at the time, I could not imagine that almost half of USA voters would willingly choose Donald Trump to be their next President.  I could also not imagine that their incredibly anti-democratic electoral system would enable Trump to lose the popular vote but win the election.

trump2016Maybe I am singularly unimaginative?  However, who would have imagined that a serious member of the ‘Commentariat’ like Time magazine would choose Donald Trump as ‘Person of the Year’ for 2016?

Are they serious?  Possibly they are not.  At least one critic has suggested the cover image, shown here, has been deliberately composed to make Trump look like the devil incarnate.  For this, and many other brilliant reactions to this news, see this compilation published by the Australian GQ magazine recently.

On 17 November, John Abraham, who is famous for his take-downs on numerous climate science deniers  like Christopher Monckton, published a very incisive summary of the dangers of Trump in the White House.  He started by admitting he had also thought things could not be as bad as many feared:

[Trump] only said those crazy things during the campaign to get elected.  He wouldn’t really follow through on his plans to completely gut the US commitment to keeping the Earth habitable.  Oh how naive we were.  Trump’s plan to fill positions in his administration shows things are worse than we could have ever feared.

Abraham then goes on to state very clearly why so many Americans have made a catastrophic mistake:

According to recent reports, Trump has picked long-time climate denier and spokesperson for the fossil fuel industry Myron Ebell to head the Environmental Protection Agency transition.  This basically means the EPA will either cease to function or cease to exist…

It means we have missed our last off-ramp on the road to catastrophic climate change.  That may sound hyperbolic, but I study the rate that climate change is happening – the amount of heat accumulating in the Earth’s system.  We didn’t have any time to waste in implementing Obama’s aggressive plans, and Trump will result in a decade of time lost.

So who is Myron Ebell? He is a director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and chair of the Cooler Heads Coalition. Where did he get his PhD in science?  Nowhere.  In fact, he isn’t a scientist at all, but he does have a degree in economics…

Myron Ebell is not new to obstructing action on climate change. Years ago, it was reported that he favored editing Bush-era scientists’ reports on climate change… It isn’t just Ebell. Trump has other insiders, some of who represent fossil fuel companies, working on the transition.

However, even John Abraham did not see Trump’s latest insane appointment coming: Former CEO of ExxonMobil, the biggest ever corporate funders of climate science denial, is now to be USA Secretary of State.

On Twitter, Bill McKibben put it very succinctly: “I guess we live in an official petrostate”.

Even though Abraham did not see this coming, he did finish his article by being philosophical:

Maybe someday Trump will realize that he actually could be the savior of the Earth.  Could you imagine the transformative power of a Republican president getting the Republican party to find solutions to climate change?  It would fit a megalomania frame.  It would be powerful and inspiring.  However, the chances it will happen are about as good as the chance we can avoid our targeted 2C temperature rise (almost zero).  Not if you surround yourselves with foxes as you go in to raid the hen house.

And by being equally succinct:

At the risk of losing objectiveness but keeping candor, we are fucked.


About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Anthropocene, Climate Science, Denial, Environment, Fossil Fuels, Insanity, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Is this ‘Game Over’ for climate change mitigation?

  1. pendantry says:

    ‘We are fucked’ is why I’ve given up blogging…


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