BY GARY EDMONDSON
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for world leaders to meet Monday for a special summit on the “the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through air pollution, heat waves and risks to food security.”
He hopes they will arrive with “concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050.”
President Trump, not really a world leader beyond his erratic military threats, will be absent.
The world has not reached its current climate crisis by accident. Once the scientific facts began to emerge about the negative human influence on the only Earth we have, fossil fuel fools began fighting for their fortunes.
First, they insisted, “We need more studies. We need more time.” The legitimate studies over time came to the same conclusions.
Then, they started funding their own “studies,” which were studies in deceit. Finally, they just started lying loudly. And one of the loudest liars is sitting in the White House – well, three or four days a week when not enriching one of his resorts at taxpayers’ expense.
His current ambassador to the UN is Kelly Knight Craft, wife of a coal baron. The New York Times – alive and thriving – reported, “the couple donated more than $2 million to Mr. Trump’s candidacy and inauguration.”
The UN will be better off if she absents herself from the roomful of adults. In 2017, while U.S. ambassador to Canada, she delivered the stock lie to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: “”I believe there are scientists on both sides that are accurate … I think that both sides have their own results from their studies and I appreciate and I respect both sides of the science.”
Phony balance is a convenient way to ignore the truth. Yes, Mrs. Craft, and there were good Nazis in Charlottesville fomenting the murder of Heather Heyer.
Over at the Interior Department sits Secretary David Bernhardt, another former industry lobbyist, who in 2017 as deputy secretary blocked release of a report critical of the pesticides malathion and chlorpyrifos, which the NY Times identified as so threatening that they “‘jeopardized the continued existence’ of not just a few species, but over 1,200 species, ranging from tiny fish to colorful birds to kit foxes,” according to Daily Kos.
But what’s an ecological disaster compared to a few extra corporate coins?
The one-time Environmental Protection Agency, whose initials now stand for Encouraging Pollution Atrocities, is now headed by energy lobbyist Andrew Wheeler. During his confirmation vote – approved by Malfeasance Mitch McConnell’s Republican Senate – West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin explained his opposition, as reported by The Hill: “[B]ecause as acting administrator, he hasn’t demonstrated a desire or a will to make any meaningful progress on clean drinking water standards and has rolled back clean air standards that are directly impacting West Virginians.”
Yep, those are our Republicans: anti-fact, pro-pollution.
The UN call for Monday’s meeting holds out hope: “The latest analysis shows that if we act now, we can reduce carbon emissions within 12 years and hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C and even, as asked by the latest science, to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”
But those goals depend upon a united front from every country in the world. Right now, Dirty Donald Trump, U.S. corporations and the Republican politicians in their pockets are grasping for every last carbon-based nickel they can reach.
The world once looked at us as “Ugly Americans” for our boorish behavior abroad. That might be preferable to “Dirty Americans” for our planet-killing profiteering.