Trump and the Environmental Catastrophy


(M A Croft) #1

I guess one of the main reasons I follow WTF so assiduously is because I am astounded at the huge damage this man is doing, not only to his own country, but the flow on effects such decisions have world wide. I have been concerned for the environment for a long time. I guess my awakening was when I was living and working in Defence HQ in Wellington and travelled each day in the city on the train with a man of similar age to me - we both had children in the same class. He was completing his PhD at the time on the long term NZ temperature record. This was in the late 1970’s. His conclusion then, was that There was a strong warming tendency of almost 1 degree C. His name is Jim Salinger.


At that time I was also a member of a National Committee working on questions of public interest and presenting submissions to Parliamentary Committees on a variety of topics including homosexual law reform, race relations, and environmental topics such as a Nuclear Free New Zealand. Working with then Professor Lloyd Geering (now Sir)

we developed a theological basis for a the protection and conservation of the environment - a theme Lloyd continued to develop in his many published books in particular “The World to Come”

Essentially we saw that our mission on Earth as humans is not to just to use the world’s natural resources and environment for our sole human benefit, but more importantly to preserve and foster it for future generations to come.

How does all this relate to what is currently happening in the Trump administration?

Almost daily we are seeing environmental protections placed there, not only for the good of the people of the Americas - because the environment knows no borders as such - but for the protection of all living things.

Today there was published in the Guardian an article of the demise of insects.

It may sound insignificant - what have insects to do with us? Surely a few less would be a good idea - especially those pesky mosquitos. But wait. Those insects are essential to life on earth - including our own.

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.
The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are easier to study. But insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals, outweighing humanity by 17 times. They are “essential” for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators and recyclers of nutrients.

Bees have also been seriously affected, with only half of the bumblebee species found in Oklahoma in the US in 1949 being present in 2013. The number of honeybee colonies in the US was 6 million in 1947, but 3.5 million have been lost since.

Here is another article on just why this is such a serious matter.
What is the sixth mass extinction? Many scientists think the current worldwide annihilation of wildlife is the beginning of a huge loss of species on Earth. It has happened five times in the last 4bn years, as a result of meteorite impacts, long ice ages and huge volcanic eruptions. But this one is the result not of natural causes, but of humanity’s actions.

How bad is it?
Extremely. By some measures, the biodiversity crisis is even deeper than that of climate change. Since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals. In the last 50 years alone, the populations of all mammals, birds, reptiles and fish have fallen by an average of 60%.

How about insects?
The new global review says it’s even worse for bugs, with the proportion of insect species declining being double that for vertebrates. The insect decline is at least a century old, but seems to have accelerated in recent decades.

Does that matter?
Yes. There are more than a million species of insect, compared with just 5,400 mammals, and they are the cornerstone of all terrestrial ecosystems. Without them, you get what scientists call a “bottom-up trophic cascade”, in which the knock-on effects of the insect collapse surge up through the food chain, wiping out higher animals. And without healthy ecosystems, there is no clean air and water.


The Right wing parties in politics used to be called “conservatives” . Ironically they are now the least conservation minded.
Trump has been most destructive in his willingness to carry out an unabashedly rightwing policy agenda. Most Republicans competing for the nomination in 2016 embraced their party’s total capitulation to the fossil fuel industry, denying the existence of climate change and promising to shred Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. This is a central threat to America’s future: a major, powerful political party rejecting science itself.

This week, the Trump administration said it would weaken federal clean water rules designed to protect millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams from pesticide runoff and other pollutants. This proposal would not just undo Obama-era regulations but chip away at protections instituted under the late George HW Bush, perhaps the last major Republican to pay even lip service to the environment.

The Obama era rule was designed to limit pollution in about 60% of the nation’s bodies of water, protecting sources of drinking water for about a third of the United States. Federal authority was extended to limit pollution in large bodies of waters and smaller bodies that drain into them, like streams and wetlands. Rural landowners complained about the government regulating how much pollution from chemical fertilizers and pesticides could seep into water on their property.


But the vandal who currently inhabits the White House takes the rape of the environment to extremes.
Here is but one further example:

Last week, the US supreme court issued a ruling allowing the Trump administration to waive 28 federal laws, including the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Act, and begin construction on 33 new miles of border wall in the heart of the valley – and right through the butterfly center.

(Matt Kiser) #2

The timeline hasn’t been updated in a while, but here’s a list of EPA/climate change/environmental issues since 1/20/17


#3

Thanks for re-upping the Environmental issues…which T’s outright neglect and dismissal is abhorrent and dangerous.

Here’s an editorial from Michael Bloomberg in the LA Times. Because PG &E will be liable for the Paradise fire because of lack of oversight, it’s bankruptcy goes beyond what an actual fiscal cost will be.

Climate change is the mother of all material risks.

Take PG&E. Although they may not know it yet, many Californians are going to feel the effects of the company’s bankruptcy. For instance, the state’s pension system, CalPERS, owns tens of millions of dollars in PG&E stock. Still worse, PG&E provides a crucial public service for which Californians might now have to pay more.

Over the last few years, I have chaired an international effort called the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures. We created a set of recommendations to help companies measure and disclose information about how climate change could affect their facilities, their supply chains, their labor force, their delivery of products and services and other essential operations.

For example, companies with plants near coasts face a host of risks from rising sea levels and stronger storms. Companies that use a lot of water — beverage companies, farms, even microchip makers — must take into account increasing droughts. Our recommendations have been endorsed by more than 500 companies and financial institutions in 45 countries.


(M A Croft) #4

Thanks @matt for the link to the EPA - I was sure you would have something like that someplace but couldn’t find it. :blush:
I find the fact that he continues to ride roughshod over environmental protection rather ironic considering that the Agency was brought into existence by another infamous President.

President Richard Nixon proposed the establishment of EPA on July 9, 1970[4] and it began operation on December 2, 1970, after Nixon signed an executive order.

The list which you have compiled is breathtaking in its length, and saddening in the reality of the consequences.

I was fortunate to visit America in the fall of 2014; taking a short side trip from staying with friends in Toronto to visit with a long lost cousin in Marion Ohio. Whilst there, we proudly shown “The Prairie” - a small planting of almost extinct prairie plants which are loving being cared for at the Ohio State University campus in Marion. These plants have been collected off the verges of roads and byways as they are no longer extant in the vast plains as they once were.

https://osumarion.osu.edu/initiatives/outreach/prairie/plan-your-visit.html

Miles of corn and soy now replace them. Unfortunately, the literal down stream effect of such intensive agriculture, is of the pollution of rivers and lakes; and even as we were there, Lake Eire was affected with an alga bloom.

We are facing a similar problem here. Farmers always eager to maximise profit go for the thing that is earning the most at the time, and like every business, its almost always the short term gain that gets the most attention. In our case it is dairying. Large herds, supplementary feeding, massive applications of fertiliser, and to hang with the environment, means that many of our rivers and lakes are now so polluted that they are no longer safe to swim.


#5

Follow the money…


(M A Croft) #6

Follow the money! Yes I’ve been a follower DeSmogBlog for a number of years now, and as always, the Koch bros have their dirty little fingers in a number of pies.