IN WAKE OF CLIMATE MARCH, TRUMP DEVASTATION CONTINUES

Tens of thousands gathered in front of the White House last Saturday, and thousands more came to rallies and marches all across the country for the People’s Climate March.  I was part of a large L.A. contingent that walked several miles to protest the Tesoro oil refinery’s merger with BP and plan to vastly increase its fossil fuel capacity.  My friend Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., kicked things off with an inspiring talk, drawn from his powerful introduction to my just-published book, “Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

Meantime, Donald Trump skipped town in D.C. to boost his ego by addressing his “base” in Philadelphia.  And in the few days since, his administration’s onslaught against our environment has continued.  Consider the following:

  •  Just put in charge of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is a man who doesn’t believe in the need for either.  His name is Daniel Simmons, a member of the Trump transition team and previously vice president for policy at a conservative think tank that promotes fossil fuel use and has opposed the international climate agreement forged in Paris.  Thomas Pyle, his former boss at the Institute for Energy Research, says Simmons’ appointment will bring “appreciation for the power of free markets and consumer choice [and] a fresh perspective to the agency.”   Like sending it to the recycling bin maybe?  At an energy forum in 2016, Simmons called for elimination of federal subsidies for renewable sources like solar and wind.  His big lie went like this:  “We have to look at the track record of the oil and gas industry [which is] producing low-cost, reliable energy, particularly when the alternative is much, much higher prices.”  
  • As early as next week, the administration may pull out of the Paris climate agreement signed by almost 200 countries since late 2015.  Trump’s people are worried that staying involved might make it more difficult to repeal the Clean Power Plan put in place by President Obama to cut emissions from coal-burning utilities.   Although Rex Tillerson and Jared Kushner are arguing it might be better diplomacy for the U.S. to remain on the team, it looks like EPA head Scott Pruitt and Trump adviser Steve Bannon are twisting Trump’s arm to make a hasty exit.
  • To mark Trump’s 100th day in office, the EPA dumped nearly all of its information on climate change from their website, stating in a press release that the site’s language is “undergoing changes that reflect the agency’s new direction.”   Gina McCarthy, the EPA Administrator under Obama, was appalled.  She told Rachel Maddow: “This is a wholesale wiping out of historical record of what this agency has been doing with public dollars for decades….unprecedented in terms of the scope of information that’s been taken down….No president has ever done this before.”
  • A just-released study by the Center for Public Integrity reveals that oil, gas and coal companies and execs poured almost $107 million into Trump’s inauguration, one out of every ten dollars raised.  From January through March, the fossil fuel industry spent more than $36 million more on federal lobbying.  The inauguration may have been a bust, as far as attendance goes, but obviously the lobbying is paying off handsomely.The “safe” level of carbon dioxide in our earth’s atmosphere is 350 parts per million.  We’ve now passed the 400 mark and climbing.  The last time CO2 levels were this high, humans did not exist.  If the Trumpistas have their way, we’re likely headed in that direction again.

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