2017: The Year Trump Put The Planet In Its Place
Donny Eat World
Thanks to clumsy apex predator Donald Trump, 2017 was not a great year for the prospects of large mammals like Donald Trump to continue inhabiting Planet Earth. The planet itself will be fine -- it's the living things on it that face a rough time, because the globe's most powerful nation is currently governed by an idiot who thinks global warming was invented as a ruse by China. While Trump will never achieve his dream of making coal great again -- largely thanks to market forces -- Trump's damned well going to do everything he can to wreck the environment, if only because that awful Barack Obama supported green energy and insulted Donald at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011. Let's look back at the sooty trail this guy's administration has left across the last 12 months.
La Reynard Henhouse Security, Inc.
Do we really need an environment anyway?
It was a nice biosphere while it lasted.
By November, Pruitt had introduced new guidelines for who could serve on the EPA's Science Advisory Board. Nobody who'd gotten an EPA research grant was allowed, since they'd obviously be biased to advise for more science that could bring their labs some money. But industry lobbyists and technicians had never gotten such grants, so clearly they can bring a fresh, unbiased eye to setting EPA's research priorities. The fox isn't just guarding the henhouse, the bastard's got a General Electric M-134 minigun.
There is much more we could say about how awful Scott Pruitt is, but this is a New Year's Eve roundup, not an indictment. Keep the phrase "a mindless jerk who'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes" in mind. For fish-slapping, of course.
The Team of Evils
Scott Pruitt isn't the only mindless jerk chosen to deal with environmental policy, of course. There's Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who's dedicated himself to shrinking national monuments, and earlier this month, brought the head of a national park to HQ in Washington to chew him out for tweeting about climate change.
Over at the Energy Department, Rick Perry was pretty excited that he'd managed to "win" against climate science, yes this is a real Tweet:
He also explained that developing nations must burn all the fossil fuels they can, to prevent rape, and we decided he was only mostly a complete idiot on that one.
She's utterly unqualified and doesn't know beans about basic science. In other words, prefect for the Trump administration.
Fine, So We Won't Always Have Paris
Bye, Earth! BYE!
Trump's decision to ditch Paris was met with cheers from the usual assholes, like rightwingers who were delighted at the prospect of wrecking the atmosphere to make liberals sad. Look at all the funny!
Out in sane-people land, beyond the general consensus that the whole world was laughing at Trump, coalitions of state and local governments quickly announced that, regardless of Trump's declaration, they were committed to sticking with the prior US commitments to reducing emissions and using more green energy. So did any number of large corporations, which suggests they think disappearing coastlines and extreme weather might not be good for business -- and that they're aware the Trump administration represents a temporary blip in environmental policy, not a permanent shift.
Look, no one's actually USING the atmosphere, are they?
Believe In A Place Called Hope. Until It's Paved Over.
Now that we've thoroughly depressed the fuck out of you, we'll close with some Resistance-y thoughts, the most important of which is the reminder that it will take four years for the US to fully withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. Which means we can reverse course back toward sanity in 2020. Beyond that, much of the rule-making needed to dismantle environmental protections is subject to public comments, and to lawsuits, so the Trumpers won't get everything they want just by fiat. Courts have blocked some EPA attempts to loosen rules on methane and other pollutants, and just last week a federal court gave EPA 90 days to put in place new standards to protect kids from lead paint instead of taking years more to "study" the problem, as if it were unclear whether lead paint is a neurotoxin.
If America isn't going to lead on climate, other countries will. After Trump rejected the Paris agreement, hundreds of American climate scientists applied for grants to move to France and do their work there; earlier in December, Emmanuel Macron awarded long-term grants to 13 Americans (and five others) to do exactly that. No matter what Trump does, coal remains an outmoded, dying energy source whose days are numbered. Smart entrepreneurs should consider opening solar cell, wind turbine, or high-efficiency battery factories in Appalachia.
The Republican Wrecking Crew is in the middle of what Charlie Pierce calls "an ongoing smash-and-grab on all the policy wishes they’ve fondly cultivated since 1981," because they know Americans are likely to boot the lot of them. But they can and are meeting with plenty of opposition, and the damage they want to do isn't inevitable. For the sake of all us large mammals, let's do all we can to stop them in time to get back on track toward a sane environmental policy.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.