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Trump and Global Warming Destroy Rivers

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Photo by Nathaniel St. Clair

Photo by Nathaniel St. Clair

One of the least understood aspects of global warming is entire countries threatened by loss of major rivers, for example, the Lancang River (70% of its headwater glaciers gone), affectionately known as “the Danube of the East” of China and the Andes river system in South America (the World Bank warning that millions threatened by loss of glacial water supplies), and the Lower Colorado River in America, at “the breaking point.”

River systems provide recreation, sport, wildlife habitat, agricultural irrigation, and drinking water for the majority of the world’s population. The loss of river system integrity and strength of its flow indubitably throws the world into utter chaos, likely leading to worldwide water wars, e.g.: India’s numerous clashes and riots over water for example in Bundelkhand (deadly clashes), Bangalore, and Munak (18 people killed and 200 injured); and, Tunisia’s “thirst uprisings”; and, 10 deaths over water rights on Iran and Afghanistan border; and, Peru farmers challenging (clashes) a corporation over water rights; and, Syria’s repeated fighting over water; and, Somalia where dozens killed over water access; and, Mexico’s 100 injured in water clashes; and, Yemen, where 4,000 die every year from water-related violence. Moreover, the list of water wars goes on and on, seemingly evermore.

It is established science that anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming contributes heavily to water stress throughout the world, and in fact, is likely the prime factor behind severe water shortages, as the Great Acceleration, aka the first ever human-directed biosphere, grows in stature and impact.

For example, 14 of the 30 most water stressed countries of the world are in the Middle East and North Africa, where massive migration is out of control. The World Resources Institute claims water shortages in Syria influenced the advent of civil disturbances, on the heels of Syria’s worst drought in 900 years.

Meanwhile in America, Trump’s hatchet job on ecosystem/biosphere regulations in concert with global warming will destroy rivers. Trump is Mister Double Trouble, wearing two hats: (1) global warming enthusiast and (2) head hatchet man of sensitive environmental rules & regulations. Thus, Trump is in mortal combat with Mother Nature, except for careful grooming of his golf courses.

Global warming’s threat to river water systems is one of the least understood aspects of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change, but it may be the most risky of all the global warming effects.

The rivers of the world are under attack, namely:

The Slims River in Canada flowed for hundreds/thousands of years, but it suddenly vanished within only 4 days. Now, the wind whips up dust storms from Slims’ crusty riverbed. The river dried up because of rapid retreat of Kaskawlush Glacier. Global warming hit Kaskawlush Glacier so hard that it retreated beyond headwaters of Slims River (Source: Slims River: Climate Change Causes ‘River Piracy’ in Canada’s Yukon, BBC News, April 18, 2017).

In China, major waterways like Yellow River, Yangtze River, and Lancang River, which becomes Mekong River once it leaves China, are drying up “…because of climate change, says geologist Yang Yong” (Source: Liu Qin, Source of Mekong, Yellow and Yangtze Rivers Drying Up, China Dialogue, March 3, 2017).

Lancang River, affectionately known as “the Danube of the East,” is a major commercial waterway. According to Cheng Haining, senior engineer with the provincial survey bureau: “Seventy (70) percent of the glaciers in Lancang River headwaters have disappeared due to the warm weather” (Source: Wang Guanqun, Glaciers on China’s Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Melting Fast Due to Global Warming, Xinhuanet, October 21, 2011).

When Lancang River leaves China, it becomes Mekong River, one of the world’s most important international waterways. It flows 2,130 kilometres thru China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam to South China Sea. Global warming has already robbed it of over 70% of its headwater glaciers, which create water flow for millions of people and irrigation for 30%-to-80% of the agriculture along its trek.

Trump at War with America’s Rivers

Trump is at war with wildlife enthusiasts, fishing, hunting, farming, towns, and cities all across America by abandoning or cutting back, crucial river protections, including Clean Water Act rules and environmental regulations.

According to Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers Org: “The rivers Americans depend on for drinking water, jobs, food and quality of life are under attack from the Trump administration’s rollbacks and proposed budget cuts” (Source: Amy Souers Kober, Announcing America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2017, Americanarivers.org, April 11, 2017).

Critically, Trump’s reckless behavior and cockamamie ignorance serves as a major setback to America’s Most Endangered River of 2017, the Lower Colorado River.

Here’s the issue: The Lower Colorado River provides drinking water to 30 million, irrigates fields that grow 90% of the nation’s winter vegetables, and provides water for LA, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. “But the water demands of Arizona, Nevada and California are outstripping supply, the impacts of climate change are becoming acute, and the river is at a breaking point… If the deficit is not addressed, the Bureau of Reclamation will be forced to cut water deliveries, with severe economic impacts to farms and cities across Arizona, Nevada and California,” Ibid.

“Unfortunately, the Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget proposal threatens to reverse progress made by states, cities and farmers to reduce water consumption across the three states,” Ibid.
Sadly for America’s southwestern states, at the very moment when the Lower Colorado River is “at a breaking point,” Trump is elected as president. Here’s the Trump problem: His hatchet men destroy crucial, as well as pivotal, rules and regulations that protect and regulate waterways for millions of Americans. There is no other way to look at his cuts to the EPA and Clean Water Act and removal of critical regulations than the handiwork of hatch men, like the Visigoths slicing and chopping their way across Medieval Europe, actually pre-Europe.

There is no getting around the straightforward fact that Trump has declared war on America’s rivers. Trump is an environmental terrorist.

According to America’s Rivers Org, here’s a sampling of what Trump’s cuts mean to the environment:

Cuts to the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture could hamstring efforts to find water management solutions to meet the crisis on the Lower Colorado River.

Cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency could undermine regulation of pollution from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations like those on the Neuse-Cape Fear and the Buffalo National River.

Virtually zeroing out the Land and Water Conservation Fund would eliminate opportunities such as the conservation purchases that have helped protect Washington’s Green River.

Cuts to the Department of the Interior likely would foreclose any opportunity to adequately fund the proper planning, management, and protection of the neglected Wild and Scenic Rivers System, including the Buffalo National River and Middle Fork Flathead — a sorry state of affairs as the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act approaches its 50th anniversary in 2018.

According to the Washington Post d/d April 14, 2017: “President Trump signed an executive order on March 28, to obliterate former president Barack Obama’s environmental record. The order will instruct federal regulators to rewrite Clean Power Plan rules that curb U.S. carbon emissions, as well as halt other environmental regulations.”

Meanwhile, Scott Pruitt, new head of EPA, lied about the Paris climate agreement on Fox & Friends. He claims it’s a bad deal for America because China and India have “no obligations under the agreement until 2030” whereas America has to meet obligations much earlier. That is a bold-faced lie as India and China do have 2030 obligations, but even a grade school kid can figure out they cannot achieve the obligations all in one year, or 2030. It takes tons of work several years beforehand. In point of fact, both countries are already installing renewables and taking other initiatives to meet their obligations for 2030.

Without hesitation, it is easy to label Scott Pruitt as the least enlightened head of EPA in American history working for the least enlightened president throughout U.S. history. This toxic cocktail of maladministration and ultra low levels of insight is almost certain to bring to surface brutal water wars, death, and destruction so extreme that its impossible to grasp at this early stage of their hostile actions.

Henceforth, discord supplants science.

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Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com

CounterPunch Magazine


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