One year into Donald Trump’s presidency and the chaotic vortex is as dysfunctional as ever.
Hundreds of thousands of federal workers will awake this morning to the prospect of having to stay at home due to the US Government shutdown.
At a press conference the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, said: “Happy anniversary Mr President, your wish came true. You won the shutdown. The shutdown is all yours.”
A year on from Trump’s inaugeration, for those who care about the state of America’s environment and about climate change, there is on the surface, little to cheer about. There is no beating about the bush: it has been a really, really bad year.
Many pre-election promises Trump has failed to fulfill, but not so on energy and climate. As a columnist for PRI.org noted: “On many fronts — from building a wall on the Mexican border to repealing Obamacare — President Donald Trump’s campaign promises remain unfulfilled after a year in the White House. But when it comes to environment and energy policy, the president largely seems to be living up to campaign promises he first laid out in a speech in May 2016.”
Jacob Carter, from the Union of Concerned Scientists, has been documenting the administration’s attacks against science. Blogging earlier this month he wrote: “Having collected evidence on the multiple ways that the Trump administration has been attacking science over the past year, it is becoming clear that this administration doesn’t just want to hide or ignore the facts. This administration is attempting to decimate the scientific process.”
He added: “At the six-month mark of this administration holding office, we documented 44 attacks on science in our report, Sidelining Science Since Day One—that number has now jumped to 64. The implications are frightening.”
Carter told Ecowatch that the Trump Administration’s attack’s on science are “happening so often now that there is definitely a pattern starting to emerge. The administration really wants to undermine the role of science and science-based decision making. They’re getting the expertise out of the way to further a political agenda.”
Any regular reader of this blog will know at least some of these issues:
From signalling that he would pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, leading him to be called a “climate buffoon”; to putting climate denier, Scott Pruitt, in charge of the EPA, and silencing and censoring the EPA’s own scientists, and slashing its budget; to disbanding the Climate Advisory Committee; to ripping up landmark climate laws and legislation; and other environmental protection laws; to the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline; to handing out billions in fossil fuel subsidies and and slashing funding for solar; to trying to open up vast areas of onshore and offshore US to oil drilling, to open up America’s last true wilderness, ANWR to oil drilling; to the decimation of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments; to his failed agenda to promote dirty coal as “clean”; to his failed promotion of climate denier, Sam Clovis, to a senior position in the Administration, to Rick Perry’s promotion of fossil fuels overseas; and removing the threat of climate change from his National Security Strategy. Indeed, the assault on climate research has been so bad that leading climate scientists have fled to France.
You get the picture. Indeed, the assault is likely to continue and even worsen this year.
But the good news is that people are mobilising back: Over the weekend, hundreds of thousands of women marched across the US and wider world against Trump, in solidarity with the wider #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and for political empowerment: Sophia Andary, co-leader of the Women’s March in San Francisco said: “We want to make change to (the) system through voting and registering and women running for office. And the more women we have in office the less we have to worry about Trump”.
Moreover, he is being fought every way in the courts. NRDC is for example fight the Bears Ears rollback. Many of the proposed regulations will never make it through the courts. ANWR will never be drilled.
Increasingly, the public is against him on many issues. Nearly 70 percent of people in the US said it should not pull out of the Paris Agreement. As the NRDC points out: “The public doesn’t support Trump’s reckless rampage. Seven in ten Americans oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge … Nearly three million citizens insisted he protect Bears Ears before he destroyed it. Nearly eight in ten say carbon dioxide should be regulated as a pollutant.”
It is not just the public that is opposed. Trump’s assault has led to many cities and states taking action on climate change. His belligerence has galvanised resistance. Christiana Figueres, the ex-head of UN body which secured the 2015 Paris climate Agreement, is now vice-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors. In December, for example, they and the World Bank, announced lending $4.5 Billion to ensure 150 cities have the funds to implement initiatives to increase sustainability and resilience and fight climate change.
Speaking to a group of young environmentalists last year, Figueres said: “Name one battle that has been won with pessimism: None! You do not go at a battle or a challenge with pessimism, because by definition you will not win. So that is why I bring [a] tsunami of optimism to this whole darn thing – because we have to. I call myself a stubborn optimist. And I invite you all to be stubborn optimists. But you also have to be stubborn and don’t give up.” Fine words for the fight ahead.