Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Donald Trump's climate fantasies  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Asia Times - 04/04/2017
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!

(MENAFN - Asia Times) Legend holds that King Canute brought his flatterers to the sea to show them that even a king could not command the ocean waves, that the laws of nature are more powerful than the decrees of men. So pity Donald Trump, who really believes that his executive orders can hold back the tides.

Trump is surrounded by cronies rather than flatterers, and they and their foolish, ignorant king believe that by denying climate change they can restore the wealth and glory of coal, oil, and gas. They are wrong. Greed will not reverse human-caused climate change, and Trump's executive orders will not stop the global process of phasing out coal, oil, and gas in favor of wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, geothermal, and other low-carbon energy sources.

In less than 100 days, we have learned that Trump is a man living in a fantasy world. He issues decrees, barks orders, sends out midnight Tweets, but to no avail. The facts – real ones, not his 'alternative' variety – keep intervening. There is physics; there is law; there are courts; there are procedures; and there are voters, only 36% of whom approve of Trump's job performance. There is also China, which wins technologically and diplomatically from every self-defeating move by the incompetent US president.

The DailyBrief Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox

The latest fantasy involves climate change. Trump has issued executive orders that he claims will reverse former President Barack Obama's climate policies. His orders would rescind the Clean Power Plan regulations of the US Environmental Protection Agency; roll back standards to control methane releases from oil and gas production and distribution; and end the regulatory use of a 'social cost of carbon,' introduced by the EPA to calibrate the dollar value of climate damage caused by the emission of an additional ton of carbon dioxide.

According to Trump, these new measures will create new jobs in the coal sector, achieve US 'energy independence,' and boost economic growth. In addition, Trump recently authorized the building of the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, #Canada to the US state of Nebraska, with the purpose of linking Canada's oil sands to oil refineries in the US. Obama had rejected that project on the grounds that it would aggravate global warming.

Trump's overriding motivation is to serve the economic interests of the US coal, oil, and gas industries, which provide ample campaign financing and media backing for the Republicans in Congress and in state governments across the country. In short, this is political corruption: government policies in exchange for campaign funds.

ExxonMobil, Chevron, the US Chamber of Commerce, and Koch Industries are all major players, and almost all of the Republican members of Congress are implicated in this disgraceful behavior. They are prepared to look like fools in public – denying climate science and global warming – as long as it keeps the campaign money flowing. Whether or not Trump himself is foolish enough to believe what he says, he knows that his executive orders play into the sweet spot of Republican power.

But, as with so many of Trump's decisions, there is more bark than bite, more bluster than reality. First, Trump can't stop the waves, or the rising ocean levels in the case of global warming. The science is real, even if Trump is happy to show off his scientific ignorance.

Second, the world knows it's real. Every UN member state signed the Paris climate agreement in 2015. The planet has just experienced the hottest three years on record. The oceans are warming dramatically (recently damging 93% of Australia's Great Barrier Reef in the process). Trump's cynicism and ignorance will change no minds and will attract no followers globally.

Moreover, Trump's actions will be challenged in court, and he will almost surely lose. He will pump up a few voters in West Virginia and receive praise from Koch Industries. But he will not be able to overturn the EPA's regulation of CO2 emissions.

Those standards are protected by the Clean Air Act, and Trump lacks the votes in Congress – by a wide margin – to change that legislation. And American voters, by a wide margin, favor a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Even with America's corrupt politics, the voters' views still matter.

Nor can Trump revive the dying coal sector. Coal has everything against it these days. It causes lung disease among miners and the public living near coal-fired power plants. It releases more CO2 per unit of energy than oil and gas, and it – and all the fossil fuels – are increasingly being outcompeted by wind, solar, hydropower, and other zero-carbon energy sources.

As for jobs, coal mining is becoming so automated that the entire sector employs just a few tens of thousands of workers in a labor force of more than 150 million. Coal mining will play no significant role in future US employment trends, Trump or no Trump.

For the same reason, my bet is that the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would cost several billion dollars, will never be built. The world does not need Canada's oil sands, given the urgent global need to move to zero-carbon energy sources. Canada's oil sands are expensive to exploit, highly polluting, and far from markets. Regardless of Trump's approval, investors are likely to reject a pipeline that would probably go bankrupt well before the planned horizon for its use.

China, Europe, and even the Gulf region will not be swayed by Trump's moves. #China is intent on lowering CO2 emissions, cleaning its air, and becoming the 21st-century leader in low-carbon technologies such as photovoltaics and electric vehicles. Europe is well on its way to a zero-emission economy. The Gulf countries are deploying large new capacity in renewable energy, especially solar energy.

In the end, we can be amazed at the foolishness of America's president and the corruption of the US Republican Party. But we should not believe that Trump's climate fantasies will change global reality or alter the implementation of the Paris climate agreement.

Jeffrey D Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, is Director of Columbia's Center for Sustainable Development and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2017.

var FlowliWatConfig = {

SourceId: '5822',

TrackerServerUrl: 'https://data.flw.li/piwik/',

SiteId: 1


(function () {

var d = new Date();

var sd = d.getUTCFullYear() '-' (d.getUTCMonth() 1) '-' d.getUTCDate();

var s = document.createElement('script');

s.type = 'text/javascript';

s.async = true;

s.src = (('https:' == document.location.protocol) ? 'https' : 'http') '://www.project-syndicate.org/fwat.js?v=' sd '&s=' FlowliWatConfig.SourceId;

var x = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];

x.parentNode.insertBefore(s, x);


Share Tweet Linkedin Email Climate Change Donald Trump Environment Coal Hydrocarbons Green Energy



Asia Times

  MENA News Headlines
 Apr 25 2017 - Free parking in parts of UAE for Israa Wal Miraaj holidayKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Paid parking fees will be reactivated on Monday, April 24. Residents in parts ofUAEwill enjoy free parking on the Israa Wal Miraaj holiday, according to announcements by ...

 Apr 25 2017 - Know the law through social media in UAEKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department said it was using social media messages and films to educate the public including children about legal issues. Social media has become an ...

 Apr 25 2017 - Video: Extreme fog blankets UAE, humidity to reach 95%Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) UAE residents need to be careful about driving in thick fog as it might lead to accidents. UAE residents woke up to fog again this week as a thick fog engulfed few parts of ...

 Apr 25 2017 - UAE Weather: Temperatures may touch 42CKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) UAE residents should brace themselves as the days are getting hotter. After heavy fog for the past two years, it was a sunny start for most parts of UAE. The ...

 Apr 25 2017 - Kuwait calls for exchanging info. on anti-money laundering, counterterrorism effortsKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) KUWAIT, April 25 (KUNA) -- The State of Kuwait Tuesday called for exchanging information on anti-money laundering and counterterrorism efforts. In his speech to ...

 Apr 25 2017 - Kuwait- His Highness Crown Prince receives KNG Deputy Chief, His Highness Sheikh NasserKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) KUWAIT, April 25 (KUNA) -- His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah met with Deputy Chief of the Kuwait National Guard (KNG) Sheikh ...

 Apr 25 2017 - Kuwait- His Highness Premier hosts Pope Tawadros IIKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) KUWAIT, April 25 (KUNA) -- His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah welcomed Tawadros II, the visiting Pope of Alexandria and ...

 Apr 25 2017 - Kuwait- His Highness Crown Prince receives new envoysKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) KUWAIT, April 25 (KUNA) -- His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received Tuesday at Bayan Palace newly appointed Ambassador of ...

 Apr 25 2017 - Kuwait- Briefing of KUNA main news for Tuesday until 12:00 GMTKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) 2606101 KUWAIT -- The National Assembly postpones the interpellation session of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah until ...

 Apr 25 2017 - Kuwait- France welcomes US sanctions on Syrian scientists from WMD programmeKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) PARIS, April 25 (KUNA) -- The French government on Tuesday welcomed a decision by the United States to impose sanctions on 271 Syrian scientists who took part in ...





Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Search News
Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices


Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks

Saudi Arabia 

Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor


Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters

© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help