One of the most infuriating things about the exclusively for profit, pro-corporate political direction that the United States has been going in now for decades is the complete and blatant disregard for environmental concerns, particularly for climate change. It seems almost like the rich feel that this is a concern for people with significantly less money than themselves, and that they are somehow immune to the problems that climate change will create. Again, this is especially maddening, since these ultra-rich elitists are often the ones who played an especially prominent role in helping to create the situation where climate change is well underway.
Of course, this disregard on their part is transparently because they feel that their profit margin - the most important thing in life for these people - is threatened by doing the responsible thing. After all, it costs money to actually get rid of waste responsibly, but it costs almost nothing to dump it in the nearest stream or body of water. It costs money to build more environmentally sound technology, while it costs them next to nothing to spend just a bit of their money to influence politicians to pass legislation to make the obviously more polluting plant or plants exempt from laws that would normally make them responsible for being cleaner and producing less pollution.
All of this is made easier when you have a bunch of self-serving people who have the gall to deny the science. When challenged on these points, they defend their ignorance of science by claiming that they are not scientists and - amazingly! - this passes the muster with American voters.
The higher you go up the political ladder, the more obnoxious are the denials. We have a "leader" who brings a snowball into Congress and claims that since this is proof that it is cold outside in Washington, that this translates to no global warming.
Would it surprise you to find out that he has been paid a decent sum of money to serve the best interests of big polluters?
We have the former House Majority leader who made a mocking video of himself eating jelly beans on Earth Day, and he singled out the green ones as his particular favorites.
Then, we cannot escape the White House, and how some, such as George W. Bush, promised to do some things for the environment. He claimed that he would lower carbon emissions while campaigning for the White House, but within a couple of months of getting there, he cited "new evidence" that showed that carbon emissions were actually not responsible for climate change to justify more lax regulations on big polluters.
And now, of course, we have Donald Trump. The man who seems to think that he is all things to all people, the absolute king of narcissism. He was known as a con artist, but apparently, a lot of people graduated from Trump University. We all know that the man has an establish record of lying incessantly. Already, it has been made clear that he cannot force Mexico to pay for his damn wall, and to try and hide that fact, not only will American taxpayers foot the bill, but Americans will pay twice over if he gets his way and a tariff is imposed on imported goods from Mexico. Of course, American consumers will be paying double for that cursed wall. The man promised to release his taxes, and never did (that was a leak that saw his taxes released recently). The man promised to separate himself from his business interests, and never did.
Yes, Trump makes a lot of claims, and anyone with an ounce of objectivity knows to take what he says with a grain of salt. It is surprising to me that this apparently does not translate to not taking the man himself seriously, although we all learned in November that plenty of people do. Now, we unfortunately all have to take his actions seriously, although again, there is nothing that he says that can be believed.
Now, when this comes to climate change, Trump has contradicted himself, rather typically. He infamously once dismissed climate change as a hoax propagated by the Chinese to hurt the American economy, but then denied this climate change denial during the presidential debates. Of course now, he is back to effectively denying climate change, as all of his actions, and pretty much all of his words, suggest that he does not take it seriously.
However, even though the president himself would take exception to this, he is no expert. He does not hold the qualifications to debate scientists on this issue (and frankly, does not hold the qualifications to be in the office that voters put him in last year), and there are those, even among his supporters, who are beginning to speak out.
It is refreshing that this man's legendary arrogance and ignorance are at least sometimes being held in check, and that he is being held to account by some people every now and then. There have been the two rejections of his travel ban, of course, and there is this recent story, about his own defense secretary, James Mattis, who is saying that not only is climate change real, but that it poses a serious threat to national security.
Certainly, this is not cause for celebration, unless it suddenly wakes up Trump to certain realities about our world. Since nobody is holding their breath waiting for this to happen, we can at least take solace that some people, even some who are close to Trump, are speaking out and not simply falling into line with everything that the man says or does.
Here is the link to the article that got me on this topic for this particular blog:
Trump’s defense secretary James Mattis says climate change is real — and a national security threat Pro Publica, 14 March 2017: