Ripping out the smoke detectors even as the house begins to burn

“We seem intent on blinding ourselves, ripping out the smoke detectors even as the house begins to burn”.  (Bill McKibben, founder of climate change campaign, in Wired magazine, February 2017)

And this is from Tom Engelhardt, who produces Tomgram:
“The the most unforgivable of crime of all , is about to be wrought by an unparallelled crew of climate change deniers and so-called climate skeptics.  They, and largely only they, have taken crucial positions in every department or agency of government in any way connected with fossil fuels or the environment.  Among his first acts was to green-light two much-disputed pipelines, one slated to bring the carbon-dirtiest of oil products, Canadian tar sands, from Alberta to the Gulf Coast; the other to enable the frackers of the Bakken shale oil fields of North Dakota.  In his yearning  to return to a 1950s America, President Trump has promised a new age of fossil-fuel exploitation.  He’s evidently ready to leave the Paris climate agreement in the trash heap of history and toss aside support for the development of alternative energy systems as well.  The White House website was scrubbed of all reference to climate change.  Both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will each undoubtedly be erased by Trump’s climate deniers, and this at a moment when we learned that, in 2016, the planet’s temperature had broken all heat records for an unprecedented third year in a row.  From 2013 to 2016, according to NASA, the planet warmed by well over a half-degree Fahrenheit, “the largest temperature increase over a three-year period in the NASA record”.  There can be no question that we look forward to a world of ever more extreme weather events.
The new Trump budget includes, among other damaging items, a 24% budget cut that  would virtually eliminate Great Lakes restoration, reducing the funding from $300 million to $10 million. Among the 38 core programs being cut are lead cleanup, methane emission reduction and brownfields restoration plus a steep cut to NOAA’s climate research, including eliminating funding for “external research, coastal management, estuary reserves and coastal resilience,” programs essential to coping with rising sea levels in a period of global climate change. The cuts to NOAA threaten climate research as well as the weather forecasting that detects storm patterns, droughts, massive rain storms, all exacerbated by climate change.  Heat and more heat, is what the future holds for our children and grandchildren.
Barring stunning advances in alternative energy technologies or other surprises, this again is too obvious to doubt.  So those, including our new president and his administration who are focused on suppressing both scientific knowledge about climate change and any attempt to mitigate the phenomenon, will be committing the most basic of crimes against humanity. (part of a posting on Tomgram,  Feb 6, 2017, Copyright 2017 Tom Engelhardt).
No further comment needed from me.


  1. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal section on letters to the editor carried only three letters, each excoriating climate science and calling man- made climate change a hoax. No balancing letter from an environmentalist. The WSJ is the Republican version of the New York Times This dangerous twaddle is what businessmen of Republican persuasion are reading. We cannot even agree on the greatest threat to all mankind maybe in the history of the planet. The anti-scientific feeling is extraordinaryly strong and isn’t going away. I can see that there are people whose businesses are threatened by climate change and want to get through their own lives untouched ( to hell with the next generation). I can see that there are people paid to deny science by the fossil fuel lobby. But, for the rest, how can you go against the accepted, researched view of 98% of all scientists? We are facing a new dark age.

  2. I completely agree. The only thing I’d add is what the savings from cutting spending will go towards. Not anything useful like education or reducing the deficit. Instead, they will fund large tax cuts for the wealthy, and increased military spending. There’s no evidence that more fighter jets or tanks will make America safer than it already is. Trump is just a pawn for his wealthy backers and the defence contractors. He doesn’t share the interests of the common man, as shown by his latest decision to cut aid to the Appalachian region, despite that region voting overwhelmingly for him.

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