Climate changes, Trump doesn’t…

DAVID Cameron is telling people that he was right to hold the EU referendum, but that man always did think he was breezily right about everything (best Brexit quote around, the historian Anthony Barnett: “Brexit is government of the old, by the old, for the old.”)

But let’s not today go down that dismal corridor with its closed doors and closed minds. All that xenophobic chanting can bring a person down.

Pausing only to look at those photographs in this morning’s newspapers of Nigel Farage in his Union Flag socks while holding a pint and displaying a grin last seen on a sickly shark – breakfast might have to wait after that – let’s instead turn to another man who, like Cameron, believes he is right about everything.

Of all the alarming things about Donald Trump, and what a long list that is, longer than that ridiculous wall he wants to build, his refusal to believe in climate change is surely the most alarming.

Trump was shown surrounded by cheering coalminers as he signed a sweeping executive order that promises to dismantle steps taken by the Obama administration to cut emissions under the Paris agreement of 2015. The US had agreed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2025.

Trump has long disparaged the science surrounding global warming, insisting that it’s a con got up by the Chinese to harm the US – a claim as extravagant as the golden trappings in the lobby of his famous tower.

Here, garnered from my morning skim of the headlines, are some thoughts (apart from the one about Trump having a cheese-burger for a brain: I discovered that one all by myself).

The Chinese state media has laid into Trump’s plans, with a state-run tabloid saying that: “No matter how hard Beijing tries, it won’t be able to on all the responsibilities that Washington refuses to take.”

A highly critical leader in the Global Times says: “Western opinion should continue to pressure the Trump administration on climate change. Washington’s political selfishness must be discouraged. China will remain the world’s biggest developing country for a long time. How can it be expected to sacrifice its own development space for those developed western powerhouses?”

China may burn more coal than any other country, but it was prepared to follow the American lead – a precarious act of mutual dependency that could be unbalanced by Trump’s climate thuggery.

In the US, many of the more than 300 companies which backed Obama’s climate efforts are lining up to say that Trump is wrong to roll back efforts on climate change.

On the BBC website, you will find an interesting backgrounder on this latest spurt of Trumpery. BBC environment correspondent Matt McGrath raises an important point: undoing Obama’s Clean Power Plan will not be straightforward, and could end up as a job-creation scheme for lawyers as the Trump administration is dragged through the courts.

Also, Matt McGrath points out that in 2007, the US Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide was a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Two years later, the Environmental Protection Agency ruled that CO2 and other gases were contributing to climate change which was a threat to public health and the welfare of current and future generations.

In other words, the existence of climate change, as wilfully disparaged by Trump, is written into US law. Something called an “endangerment finding” compels the federal government to regulate emissions. So that might just scupper Trump’s stupid plans.

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