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Some Republican consultants looked at just how abysmally Donald Trump's environmental record is polling with Millennials and suburban women, so the White House hosted a bizarre press availability yesterday in which Trump bragged about what a terrific friend of the environment he is. He was accompanied by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, and by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist, and they all pretended the Emperor had a beautiful new suit of organically grown hemp clothes, we guess.

The New York Times reports the poll-driven exercise in doublethink appears to have been aimed at reassuring a very tiny slice of voters who don't already have their heads all the way up Trump's tailpipe:

While the numbers showed that Mr. Trump was "never going to get" the type of voter who feels passionately about tackling climate change, a senior administration official who reviewed the polling said, there were moderate voters who liked the president's economic policies and "just want to know that he's being responsible" on environmental issues.

And since they're Trump voters, apparently they're also dumb enough that if he says "Message: I Care" about the environment, then they'll smile and believe it. The White House brought in an appreciative audience, at least -- maybe some interns from the Heartland Institute or some other oil-funded think tank?

"We want clean air and we want crystal clear water," Trump told an enthusiastic crowd, saying that achieving both things does not conflict with his "pro-growth policies."

It's a familiar bullshit dodge by Trump, chanting the word "clean" while his administration does all it can to make the environment dirtier by rolling back regulations limiting pollution.

While Trump held off from his usual insistence that he's bringing the coal industry back (he isn't), he did brag that the US is now a leading exporter of oil and gas, and that's good for the environment because magic!

"We're unlocking American energy," he said, "and the U.S. is now a net exporter of clean, affordable, American natural gas."

In addition to not mentioning climate change at all, neither Trump nor his flunkies at the dais mentioned the administration's plan to open up virtually the entire coastline of the USA to offshore drilling -- with maybe an exception for Florida, where even Republicans sort of notice oil slicks. The Times offers a few other examples lesser mortals might call hypocrisy, but which Trumpers recognize as winning:

Mr. Trump called himself a protector of public land, but he has taken unprecedented steps to open up public lands to drilling, including signing off on the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation's history, and lifting an Obama-era moratorium on new coal mining leases on public lands.

He repeatedly cited his desire for clear water, but the Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of rolling back an Obama-era clean-water regulation of pollution in streams and wetlands [...]

And he boasted that carbon dioxide emissions in the United States have gone down over the past decade, "more than any other country on earth." But while it is true that carbon emissions have declined by over 10 percent in that time, over a dozen other countries — including most of the European Union — have seen declines of more than twice that.

And while Trump bragged about reductions in US carbon emissions that happened under previous presidents (and which are threatened by his own top policy priorities), Trump never actually mentioned why we might want to reduce carbon emissions at all. Captain Planet didn't say a word about climate change, apart from claiming the Green New Deal would kill all jobs, forever. And of course, much of the reduction in US carbon emissions resulted from the lower price of natural gas in recent years, and if you could please just disregard the environmental impact of fracking, you'll be exactly like Trump and his environmental wrecking crew. Needless to say, he also didn't say a word about his effort to completely eliminate climate science as a consideration in national policy.

At least it was a good day for quotes from critics astonished by the (oil-slicked) gulf between the bragging and the actual policies.

"It must be opposite day at the White House if President Trump is dubbing himself an environmental leader," said Dan Lashof, U.S. director of World Resources Institute, in a statement.

"His environmental record is clear — and awful," said former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg in a statement. "The progress we have made cleaning the air, protecting health, and cutting carbon emissions has happened in spite of him, not because of him."

The Times offered this detailed debunking of Trump's massive cloud of toxic smog, if you like facts and things.

Oh, yes, also yesterday the American Association for the Advancement of Science highlighted a new MIT study on oceanic carbon absorption and mass extinctions. It's not incredibly optimistic:

Today's oceans are absorbing carbon about an order of magnitude faster than the worst case in the geologic record -- the end-Permian extinction. But humans have only been pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for hundreds of years, versus the tens of thousands of years or more that it took for volcanic eruptions or other disturbances to trigger the great environmental disruptions of the past. Might the modern increase of carbon be too brief to excite a major disruption? [...]

"Once we're over the threshold, how we got there may not matter," says [MIT geophysicist Daniel] Rothman, who is publishing his results this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Once you get over it, you're dealing with how the Earth works, and it goes on its own ride."

Permian extinction? David Wallace-Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth, has the study notes for us: "In that event, at least 90 percent of all life on earth died."

So if the dolphins DO manage to escape the planet before the oceans become incapable of supporting life, they may not even thank us for the fish.

But since the science indicates that tipping point hasn't yet arrived, maybe we could DO something to prevent it! Today, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders are introducing resolutions in the House and Senate to declare climate change an emergency that "demands a national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States at a massive-scale." Since Donald Trump keeps declaring emergencies to put tariffs on steel and to build a WALL we don't need, we may as well start thinking about some real emergencies, after all.

In any case, we're looking forward to the next poll-driven Trump presser. Maybe he'll assure people with preexisting conditions that eliminating Obamacare will improve their healthcare. Haha, we joke! He's already lied about that!

[NYT / NPR / NYT / AAAS / Mother Jones]

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Doktor Zoom

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.


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